May 16, 2023 by Katharina Thomas

Sailing Virgins: Our Genesis Story

The Founding Story of Sailing Virgins

Underneath a Grecian sky, James Kell, the then route manager of The Yacht Week in Greece, found himself amidst a sea of stars. He was sitting on the deck of his boat, anchored off the tranquil island of Dokos, sharing the serene night with his guests. The melodies of Elliott Smith harmonized perfectly with the soft lapping of the waves against the hull, the sound echoing into the warm summer night. As they marveled at the splendor of a dazzling meteor shower overhead, a voice broke the hush.


"You should create a sailing school that caters to us," said one of the guests. These words sparked an idea in James' mind, and that idea was the seed from which Sailing Virgins would sprout.

At that time, sailing schools didn't specialize in demographic niches. They had been "age generalists," trying to cater to everyone, and in doing so, they resonated with no one in particular. The sailing education scene was a wide-open canvas, and it was on this canvas that James envisioned painting a brand-new concept. Inspired by this eureka moment, he set forth to create the world's first sailing academy specifically for millennials. Thus, Sailing Virgins was born.

The Birth of a New Brand

In the pursuit of creating Sailing Virgins, the inspiration was drawn from brands that weren't afraid to walk the tightrope of risk, like Red Bull. They encapsulated the notion that it's within the responsible harnessing of risk that the juice of life is found. Life is an adventure, and like any true adventure, it's fraught with uncertainty and the unknown. But it is precisely these elements that make the journey worthwhile.

Taking a leaf from Thoreau's book, the team at Sailing Virgins was determined to "live deep and suck out all the marrow of life." They aimed to live so robustly and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to drive life into a corner, to wrestle it to its knees and demand from it the experiences and emotions that make life truly memorable. Or something like that.


The team admired brands that stood for something, that had a clear mission and a vision that extended beyond the bottom line. Brands like Patagonia, which proudly wore its love for the earth on its sleeve, and RVCA and OBEY, which supported artists and the culture of creative self-expression. These were brands that had a soul, brands that dared to be different, to stand for something. It was this same spirit that the team wanted to infuse into Sailing Virgins.

But of all the brands and experiences that inspired Sailing Virgins, the one that held a special place in their hearts was The Yacht Week. After all, it was during a Yacht Week event on a tranquil night in Greece that the idea for Sailing Virgins had been born. The Yacht Week Croatia pioneered the concept of "floating festivals," successfully targeting a specific demographic and creating an experience unlike any other. It was this spirit of innovation and targeted appeal that Sailing Virgins aspired to embody.

Innovating Sailing Education

As Sailing Virgins began to take shape, the team focused on creating an experience that was uniquely catered to their demographic. They acknowledged that millennials were not just looking for a sailing course, they were seeking an adventure, an experience that would create lasting memories while also equipping them with valuable sailing skills.

For this reason, the team worked tirelessly to curate a syllabus that was both engaging and practical, going beyond the traditional teaching methods of sailing schools. They integrated adventure sailing, night sailing, and downwind sailing into their courses, providing a comprehensive and exhilarating learning experience. This emphasis on experiential learning set Sailing Virgins apart from other sailing schools, resonating with their target demographic and creating a unique brand identity.


Midjourney confusing "sailing harness" with "samurai in lederhosen", but let's give it to them.

Sailing Virgins also made it a point to instill a sense of responsibility towards the environment in their students. They believed that as sailors, they were custodians of the seas, and it was their duty to respect and protect the marine environment. This commitment to sustainability and eco-friendly practices was another aspect that set Sailing Virgins apart, aligning with the values of their millennial demographic.

The Future of Sailing Virgins

As Sailing Virgins looks towards the future, the team is excited about the new horizons they are venturing towards. They are expanding their reach to cater to corporate and university groups, offering tailor-made experiences to foster team-building and leadership skills in a unique setting.

Their commitment to sustainability continues to be a cornerstone of their brand, extending beyond their sailing practices to their merchandise as well. Sailing Virgins is growing its merchandise line, which includes items made from recycled bottles and bamboo. For each item sold, a tree is planted, reinforcing their commitment to the environment and their mission to make a positive impact.


Sailing Virgins continues to innovate and push the boundaries of what a sailing school can be. But no matter how much they grow and evolve, they remain true to their roots. They are still that adventurous brand that was born on a quiet night under the Greek sky, driven by a passion for sailing and a mission to share that passion with millennials around the world.

Returning to the Beginning

As we reflect on the story of Sailing Virgins and look forward to its future, it's essential to return to that fateful night on the island of Dokos.

Sailing Virgins' journey has taken them from the Greek islands to the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean, Tahiti and beyond. Their dedication to creating unforgettable adventures and providing best-in-class sailing education has earned them a reputation as the number one choice globally for new and experienced sailors alike.

And now, Sailing Virgins invites you, dear reader, to join us on this incredible journey. Whether you're an aspiring sailor or an experienced seafarer, there's a place for you aboard one of our adventure-filled courses. So come, set sail with Sailing Virgins, and experience the magic that began on a quiet night in Dokos, as you embark on your own unforgettable sailing adventure.

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