The Junior School Hall was full of excited chatter as Year 4 waited in anticipation of meeting Freddie Carr, one of Ben Ainslie’s team of sailors working to bring the America’s Cup back to Great Britain in 2017.

Freddie’s visit was the culmination of Year 4’s Independent Learning Programme. The three-week programme included the sailing week at Portsmouth Outdoor Centre on Langstone Harbour then working together in teams investigating the different America’s Cup yachts and building their own model boats which they raced in the school swimming pool, with mixed success. “Our boat sank,” Sam Hargreaves told Freddie, “we’d made it with tissue paper to start with but realised it didn’t work.” The pupils had all brought their boats with them and enthusiastically showed them to Freddie, explaining how they worked.

After Freddie had told them all about his sailing experience and the challenge ahead of them to develop the boat and the team to win the America’s Cup, the pupils had many questions showing the initiative and hard work they’d all put in to their projects. Many of the pupils were also keen to share stories of their adventures on the water and in particular the number of times they’d capsized during sailing week!

“I started sailing when I was about your age,” Freddie told the pupils, “and I used to capsize a lot, but I really enjoyed being out on the water with my friends so kept going. When I started racing it became exciting to learn about how you can watch the weather and the wind to make the boat go faster. I’ve practised a lot and tried very hard, there’s no reason why any of you couldn’t get to sail at the Olympics or be in in America’s Cup team if you really enjoy what you’ve learnt this last few weeks.”