2016 was a big year for Sea-Change. May saw the launch of 'Blue Mermaid' at Polruan and festivities at Maldon in July to celebrate her arrival. We are very proud to have built in the UK and there can be no greater pleasure than receiving the certificate of floating free by class society DNV-GL. Sea Cadets provided a guard of honour at both places, which was fitting as we are honoured to sail with them too.
'Reminder' provided the usual ideal platform for our work, supplemented by 'Sallie'. This meant young people learning the intricacies of a handspike windlass as well as enabling us to compete in the East Coast OGA Annual Race with a crew of West Mersea Sea Scouts. This was doubly appropriate as their predecessors had owned the boat before she was sold away in 1972.
Work on 'Blue Mermaid' at Downs Road Boatyard continues. At the time of writing Brian Kennell is making hatch boards. She will be rigged by TS Rigging’s Tom Cook, our Shipshape Heritage Training Partnership trainee of two years ago, and Dan Taylor from last year is now Mate of 'Jolie Brise'. The result of a bid to Heritage Lottery for a second stage is awaited; if successful it will start in 2018. There are already apprentices working in the yard, and we have joined with the Heritage Marine Foundation to develop an apprenticeship flexible enough to send trainees to sea for extended placements.
2017 will see the final push with the appeal. We are chipping away at the last £100k of the total target of £600k, but still have a lot to do. We are starting to think about how to raise a scholarship fund to help people sail with 'Blue Mermaid'. The operational model will be to offer shippers a 1931 freight rate for anything we carry for them, while inviting support for the training thereby offered.
The next season is booking fast so if you would like to find out more about sailing with us then please get in touch.
Richard Titchener, Executive Officer
For more information about Sea Change Sailing Trust visit their website or Facebook page.
Find out about 'Sallie' in the OGA online Boat Register.