The impact of mixed ability sailing on able bodied executives.

Does working together change attitudes?

About this research

The Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST) operates two tall ships which have been specially designed and built to accommodate for people with disabilities on board.  They provide opportunities for able bodied people and those with disabilities to participate in voyages around the world, sailing together in mixed ability watches: The JST experience

Workplace inclusion is a real concern for employers at present. A recent study by executive search firm Egon Zehnder International shows that the main driver behind diversity and inclusion programs is access to talent. Yet much of the research in this area has focused primarily on gender and ethnic diversity.

A recent report from the disability charity Scope found that 15% of disabled people surveyed said that they would most like to see a change in employer’s attitudes. Among disabled people who said they have faced problems around employment, where other people’s attitudes or behaviours were involved, the vast majority identified employer’s attitudes (76%), followed by those of colleagues (51%).

Attitudes towards disability and disabled people are much more likely to improve through more frequent interactions between disabled people and non-disabled people, this assertion is held up by numerous studies which have supported the “contact hypothesis” (Allport 1954) which states that, Stigma (unless deeply rooted in the character structure of the individual) may be reduced by equal status contact between majority and minority groups in the pursuit of common goals. The JST experience provides ideal conditions for the contact hypothesis to take place.


The research seeks to answer three core questions regarding the emotional and behavioural and organizational consequences of taking part in a JST experience. The fourth question relates to the problem of workplace inclusion:

1.       Does the JST experience enhance self-awareness and awareness of others, and if so, what is the nature of their experiences that led this?

2.       How does this increased awareness influence participants’ behaviour and relationships in the workplace?

3.       Does the JST experience impact participants’ attitudes towards disability?

Who took part?

This project is being conducted in association with the Jubilee Sailing trust with one of their corporate clients, a large multinational banking corporation who provided a number of executives as research participants.

What did we find?

Data is currently being analysed and the report will be available by May 2018.

Research team

James Moncrieff and Grace Brown

How can I find out more?

To find out more about this project or to enquire about further disability or inclusion research please email Grace Brown: