The Project

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LiscaBianca, the sea faring social project

This project fosters social inclusion for disadvantaged young people. Lisca Bianca is a boat that simbolizes mediterranean culture across the globe. Through its renovation their job and social prospects are enhanced. Our committment is to allow this historical vessel to sail again and to be a symbol of the history and tradition of our land. To do this we need your help too. The LiscaBianca Project sailing towards inclusion is a no-profit social project.

For some years now we have thought of Sailing not only as a hobby and entertainment, but also for its educational and therapeutic values. It can prevent and contrast the different types of juvenile distress and behavioural problems. Through sailing they can learn to stay together and discover again important and essential values such as cooperation, mutual support and sense of responsibility, solidarity, and love for nature.

Sailing Towards Inclusion

The project aims to offer to young people an important life group experience in a natural environment (the sea) but in a specific situation (the boat) in a highly protected educational context. The ideal targets of the project are young people in trouble and/or risking behavioural problems, hosted in rehabilitation youth centres, primary assistance structures, drug rehabilitation centres, social centres and mental and physical health care centres. The promotors of the Project are the Istituto Don Calabria and the Organization Apriti Cuore Onlus that for some years have taken care of the management of places, communities and projects related to this field.

In 2013 these two Organizations “saved” LiscaBianca from its demolition, which was considered unavoidable, and gave birth to the project. YAM srl embraced the idea from the beginning and at the end of 2013 they formalized a protocol with the Istituto Penale per i Minorenni di Palermo (ex Malaspina) whose young people are enthusiastically involved in the project both for the renovation of the removable parts of the boat and for the sailing workshops. In Trabia, c/o the Comunità per Tossicodipendenti Sant’Onofrio run by Istituto Don Calabria, there is the shipyard where young people work on the “structural” parts of the boat (hull, deck, masts).

The sea is an alternative environment that can represent a break from everyday life. It is a very different dimension, compared to the usual represented by the street and the city. A new occasion for self-experimentation. The boat is a little world where you need everyone to give their contribution in order to be in harmony. For sailing together you need to be a crew so you need to share and respect rules. The “boat”, with all the notions to be learned, the choices to be made – fruit of another mediation between us, the wind and the waves – imposes the respect for the rules and roles we didn’t know at first. The boat modulates blunt codes that may sound mysterious at the beginning: There’s Someone Else you need to cooperate with; Someone Else to discover. That contributes to the constitution of a new reference group, different from the one the “troubled” subject is integrated in, whose rules and habits he knows, even though sometimes he is not aware of it. So the boat becomes a little community where everyone is in charge of something, where everyone knows the rules that must be followed and all the tasks to be completed. It is a place where everybody shares a common goal and carries his own cultural and experience baggage. Cooperation and stimulation of interpersonal communication in order to fulfil a common goal are the requirements to grow up well together and to overcome ever more complex challenges. Sea, boat, crew and adventure are the basis of the project that aims to:

  • Support the growth process of young people being in difficulties and in problematic situations to prevent and reduce the socio-cultural trouble;
  • Teach to embrace and respect rules (roles and responsibility);
  • Promote healthy and positive lifestyles;
  • Educate kids to work in group (becoming a crew);
  • Support and facilitate the growth process of those young people in difficulties, endorsing their potential and abilities;
  • Foster the acquisition of knowledge, skills and new and unexpected interests;
  • Support socialization and cooperation abilities;
  • Foster integration, inclusion and rehabilitation;
  • Activate courses of environmental awareness, discovery of marine environment and new forms of man-nature relationship;
  • The project involves some development areas which differ from each other in program and activity, depending on crews (target) and specific educational and/or theraupetic aims.


The sailing boat, in our purposes, can pass over its current status as sport or summer hobby, getting back to its commercial origins, aimed to the creation of new trading routes, and defining professional skills useful for productive fields other than the shipyard. Learning and training activities insist on:

  • recovery of the Master of Axe’s knowledge through the use of innovative technologies facilitating the acquisition and transmission of traditional knowledge, reducing the last of restoration works and prototyping of a traditional vessel, creating useful skills in all the wood carving related sectors;
  • organization of targeted travels towards specific places where we will promote, in the best way, typical local products, organising as well artistic and cultural events to be enjoyed by the public directly on board or in the port zone and inviting important testimonials too;
  • transmission of boat construction techniques: from the traditional one to the last generation one made in vacuum-sealed resin and sandwich of high-tech materials;
  • transmission of skills related to the recovery and refurbishment both of the interior and of the hull, of the system, of the navigation equipment, of the wooden constructions, fiberglass, wire and compound materials;
  • transmission of skills related to general navigation: hull and motor maintenance, launch and hauling, help in mooring, in boat storage and watch-service operations;
  • transmission of skills related to high-sea sailing navigation, course planning, pilot charts interpretation, use of sextant, navigation electronic softwares, radar, ecosounder and board instruments, sails setting and navigation;
  • definition of training package related to enterprise construction and to the creation of production groups, learning of promotion technics of his own activity.

For young people of the “Malaspina” the LiscaBianca Project represents the first work experience for an “external customer” and allows them to take on with times and modes of realization and evaluation of the result closer to the professional demand they will find “out” after their educational course. This method has a strong educational and formative value because it puts them in contact with the outside and allows them to relate with a Project composed of objectives and mid-long-term perspectives to be achieved through daily commitment and constant learning.


Sailing therapy aims to prevent and take care of the psycho-physical problem as a support to rehabilitative therapies. The objective is also to allow the disabled subject to socialize and relate with other people. The most evident therapeutical aspects are a) the change of setting, so a new environment with new sensorial stimulus, wind and silence; b) the constant redressing of the body; a highly emotional and personal experience trascending words; c) group dynamic: choices, refuses, different styles, cooperation; it is not a generic socialization but something going with the psycotherapy without the duress of the clinic session; d) the rehabilitation: knowing his own body and balance; the possibility to accomplish different movements, the autonomy and the sense of self-efficacy.


Sailing as a playful-recreational activity: attention will be focused on the acquisition of sailing techniques (nautical therminology, basic operations, marine weather phenomena, etc.) through the practice of an activity developing attention, focus and coordination ability where you can share the respect and importance of rules, endorsing both the group and the individual. This activity may result propedeutics to the acquisition of the boat licence. It can also be an occasion to use his own competences learned in a working sector as the nautical one, in high expansion


Promotion of didactic cruises: among the objectives of dydactic cruises there is the acquisition, through the delightness of navigation, of nautical and seafaring skills; the practice of new amusement forms, different from the common ones and to be invented together; the appreciation of new meets, places and activities; the sharing with the educators of the joy and emotions of an extraordinary experience, lived as key players, and enhancing the rielaboration through the storytelling and the documentation; the learning of new forms of relationship between man and nature through the environmental awareness and the acquaintance of the sea. The kids, with the crew, will complete all the duties related to a cruise: operations, cleaning, making of meals; they will take part into exchange of views moments on the meaning of a positive lifestyle. They will have also a logbook where they will relate their emotions and feelings.


Taking part into and organize a regatta: The individual as well as the group can make treasure of the sailing competition experience because it forces them to handle both the complexity of the assignment on board and the relationship with the other members of the crew. This is very important for the awareness of the positivity of interpersonal relations, for the contact with reality and life quality improvement. Competition enhances the importance of the constant personal commitment and the confidence in the group to improve and achieve new goals.


The Project aims at the development of intergenerational experiences too, because we are aware that now the gap between young people and adults (especially old people) is excessive. In our society sometimes we are powerless witnesses of real forms of segregation concerning age, with teenagers and old people who cannot open any communication channel. That increases mutual stereotypes and creates a relation where we are dumb and deaf for the Other. We are “entrenched” in commonplaces which risk becoming self-fulfilling prophecies. The activities that will be proposed, those related to the learning of sailing techniques as well as those related to the sharing and transmission of skills in the LiscaBianca renovation works, will be carried out in order to enhance and emphasize aspects such as cooperation, interaction and knowledge exchange between young people and adults. “Doing together” will help them to reduce the gap and will be the context where they will really meet each other, following the cultural transmission forms developed by men in the past. Sea culture, merchant voyage, handcraft work too had always been based on this construction of a memory transferring and reinforcing from generation to generation, that endorses enthusiasm and force of young people as well as the experience and the wisdom of old people. On the boat and in the atelier adults take the central figure of “mentors”, with their stories and their “practical” culture. In the LiscaBianca Project all those aspects will be endorsed both in the everyday activities and in focused narrative workshops. Eventually self-estem and independence of young people as well as the sensation to be still useful and “alive” of older people will be reinforced. The crew will be a real community.


An important role is assigned to the conception of life on the sailing boat as a true training for real life. In order to do this, especially nowadays we need to stress the dimension of the exchange with people coming from abroad, other languages and continents. The developed partnerships allow us to activate a succesful twinning with other similar experiences in the Mediterranean basin in Italy, France, Morocco and Tunisia as well as with projects in other developing countries showing the differences of race, gender, physical condition, language as elemnts of exchange and comparison and not as distance and division factors. Our users will land in far away places considering them united by the culture related to the sea and to the Mediterranean which, like a unique breath, gives life to a community with ancient and shared roots. All the work done during the planning will find its natural goal, the significant landing in the ports of the associative and entrepreneurial experiences with whom we will be in twinning. On those occasions new exchange potentialities will open for future and kids will really see what they have learned during their path, how satisfying and fullfilling all the strength, the difficulties that all new learning involves can be. Kids concerned in the LiscaBianca Project will discover places, costumes, peers, foreign traditions to confront with, rediscovering the hospitality culture of our history, reducing prejudices about people coming from other cultures and finding in the common marine culture traces and roots of a shared humanity. In those ports and cities chosen typical local products will be promoted and commercialized.


Some say that only adventures that can be told exist; we surely know that without word and fable, our experiences are closed in an individual unproductive isolation. Moreover nowadays the capability to tell is one of the most in danger, as an old demolished boat to be restored. That’s why young users will be engaged, during the whole learning process, in the production of stories in dedicated workshops. Parents and especially fishermen and artisans related to the sea will be involved too. They are supposed to retrace a sort of century-old tradition “epic”, orally transmitted to us until some decades ago. We will focus on biographical stories, individual and collective works, direct collection of stories coming from families and members of the community, pictures and other materials helpful to maintain alive this unique treasure. The narrative method will allow kids to acquire or discover modes, instruments, abilities and sensibility useful for each one also to prevent trouble or to solve interpersonal and inter-group conflicts, that normally arise in the individual and planning evolutionary process. On the sailing boat we live in close contact with the other so the hard “art” of choosing everyday to understand the others, to decentralize his own self, to reconsider without loose the personal point of view. By telling about themselves, young people of the “crew” can find out how to be close to the others and so neutralize violence, misunderstanding and mutual suspicion germs.


The main method considered the frame of all the other methodologies and instruments is the action research. It is the elective instrument because it puts together knowledge and intervention needs. Our project is a pilot experience so we need an observation and monitoring instrument that should be flexible but good for constantly verifying what happens, new acquisition or difficulties of participants. We will “navigate with no instruments” so we need to put us in the hand of a procedure that allows to render every action or activity a piece in the construction of possible and continuous “route corrections”. The action research imagines that “the last goal of the research is the radical transformation of social reality and the modification of participants behaviour[…] Research procedures tend to encourage in participants a consciousness that is bigger compared to their own resources, so to mobilise them […]. This type of research is accomplished by all the members of the community which take part in that, followed by outsiders with the role of consultant” (E. Nigris). That means that all the people involved in the project become, ecologically, an essential part of the evaluation and transformation process in view of the creation of a reproducible working model, so a “best practice”.


Beyond the shipbuilding activities to be implemented in order to offer professional and working opportunities to young people involved and trained in the project LiscaBianca, there is an other innovative element connected to the visibility that may derive from it. In effect, the sails and the hull are a useful place to host sponsors logos and social brands. They are visible throughout all the sailing activities in which the vessel will take part (regattas, dydactic cruises, sailing therapy, sailing courses, cultural event orgamnization on board, etc.). Moreover, to promote the project there will be a communication campaign using national and international nautical magazines, websites and the main newspapers.

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