Award winning sailing instructor gets set for solo circumnavigation

Impact Award presented to Freya Terry of Pembrokeshire Performance Sailing Academy
26 Apr 24

Freya Terry of PPSA Pembrokeshire in a red coat with her wooden RYA Impact Award by the water's edge with buildings in the background.

An award-winning watersports instructor from Pembrokeshire is getting set for her next challenge with plans to sail solo around Britain and Ireland.

Freya Terry is among the first to be honoured in the RYA Cymru Wales Impact Awards, which have been launched by the sport’s governing body to recognise those go the extra mile to support activities afloat.

Having learnt to sail aged 12 at Fishguard Bay Yacht Club after trying the sport with school, Freya went on to compete with Welsh squads and has subsequently developed a career on the water with Pembrokeshire Performance Sailing Academy (PPSA).

Freya is a dinghy, keelboat, multihull, powerboat and jetski instructor, and aged just 21, is also now restoring a yacht with the aim of completing a  single-handed circumnavigation of Britain while raising awareness about mental health issues along the way.

PPSA Chief Instructor Richard (Taff) Owens, who nominated Freya for an RYA Cymru Wales Impact Award, said she had proven to be a particularly determined individual over the years he had known her.

He said: “Freya has overcome personal barriers to become an extremely effective, inspiring and positive Senior Instructor within our training environment.  Her determination to succeed is contagious and she shows courage and a steely 'can do' attitude.“

He added that as a leading member of PPSA staff, Freya was always willing to mentor junior team members and regularly received positive feedback from parents, youth sailors and clients, who leave courses and sessions “better informed, smiling and wanting to return for more”.

“She is now focused on her ambition to sail around the UK and such is her determination, that she owns a sailing cruiser of her own and is preparing it for the journey. Her positive attitude is infectious.”

Freya Terry stood in front of the hull of her pink painted yacht Pink Delta which is in a boat yard on shore.

The Impact Awards were introduced in 2024 alongside a new five-year strategy for the sport in Wales - Gyda’n Gilydd ar ein Dyfroedd - Together on our Waters – to get more people on the water, more often, by creating a connected, inspired and inclusive Welsh sailing and boating community.

RYA Cymru Wales CEO James Stuart said: "The consistent feedback in Freya’s work setting is that she does exactly what these awards are about: going above and beyond and really thinking carefully about the people in front of her and how to help them on the journey they want to go on.”

Freya is not from a sailing family but decided to learn the sport after a taster session with school and reading Swallows and Amazons.

Having struggled academically and with anxiety, Freya enjoyed developing skills and confidence through sailing and gaining instructor qualifications, working with PPSA at weekends and during summer holidays.

Freya said: “After deciding not to pursue A-levels due to my mental health, I enrolled in a fashion and textiles course at college. It was friendly and fun, allowing me to express myself creatively, and despite the challenges of the pandemic, I received great support from my tutors and friends. But after a difficult period during lockdown, I made the bold choice to focus on my passion for sailing as a full-time career. I love the freedom of being on the water and the fact it’s such a strong community.”

Freya Terry stood on the boat of a yacht in harbour on a sunny day instructing a youth 'pirates' session with three engaged young people listening.

Freya is now renovating a 31-foot yacht with the aim of using her sailing background and her own experiences of mental health difficulties while growing up to raise awareness and help others.

Having bought a 1977-built SHE31 Sparkman and Stephanes, originally called Black Delta, Freya has re-named it Pink Delta with a colour scheme to match, and launched a Go Fund Me campaign in anticipation of beginning her voyage this summer 2024.

Her aim is to navigate over 2,400 nautical miles and visit approximately 80 locations along the way, hosting talks and discussions with local communities, children and young people, to reduce the stigma around mental health and inspire others to seek help when needed.

“My own battles with mental health began when I was quite young, aged just 11, and continued through my teenage years,” said Freya. “While my journey hasn’t been easy, it has taught me invaluable lessons about the power of resilience and the importance of reaching out for support. 

“I want to sail Pink Delta around Britain and Ireland to share my experiences and the things that have helped me, to reduce the shame and fear surrounding mental health issues and get people talking.”

Freya found it difficult to access NHS help until she was 17, with her symptoms worsening as she got older, but did find a way forward with support from her parents and charities including MIND and the Amethyst Project.

Freya Terry on shore as a young sailor in a red buoyancy aid holding the boom of a red and blue Topper sail with an Optimist dinghy in the background.

Freya’s message for those who are struggling is one of hope: “I would say just hold on and reach out to people, as terrifying as that is, and keep reaching out. It might feel awful right now but if you can last five minutes, you can last another five minutes, and at some point it will get better than it is right now, and eventually it will be a lot better and you’ll look back and see how far you’ve come.”

Freya has set up a website called She sails where followers and supporters can find out more about her solo circumnavigation. While the challenge could see her setting a new record as the youngest and first female to sail solo around Britain and Ireland, this is not her main goal.

Freya summed up: “I’m doing it because I want to help people and visit new places, achieve something remarkable and experience the adventures the sea has to offer. I believe that I can so I’m going to try.”

Find out more about getting on the water with Pembrokeshire Performance Sailing Academy (PPSA) or explore how tobegin your own journey at RYA Start Boating or with RYA instructor pathways and opportunities.

Do you know an individual or organisation that goes the extra mile to support activities on the water in Wales? Read more and nominate for our RYA Cymru Wales Impact Awards.

Freya Terry sailing her yacht Pink Delta out of Aberystwyth with blue sea and big skies beckoning.