A search has been launched to find budding young sailors to join the crew of a round-the-world yacht.
Wales’s tallest sail training yacht, Challenge Wales, that took pride of place in the Queen’s Jubilee Thames Pageant, will be anchoring at Conwy at the All-Wales Boat Show in July after competing in a race across the Irish Sea.
The aim is to give local youngsters a taste of sea life by giving them a tour of the 72ft long boat which has a 95ft high mast and will be the tallest ship ever to visit Conwy.
Challenge Wales will be sailing into the show on Friday, July 26, crewed by young people from different parts of Wales. It will be the first visit by the yacht – to Conwy or Deganwy marinas.
Now the charity that keeps the boat afloat wants to hear from local young people who want to be part of the crew sailing the boat from the boat show on Monday 29 July to Milford Haven on a 5 day voyage.
The previous tallest ship into Conwy harbour is believed to be the brigantine Zebu, with a 72ft mast, and before that Nuclear Electric, which had a 67ft mast, and which won the British Steel Challenge 1992-3 round-the-world race.
The All Wales Boat Show from July 24-28, will be split between Conwy and Deganwy Quay marinas, with visitors ferried across the River Conwy from one harbour side to the other. There will be a range of craft on show, plus the chance to try out some of the equipment on sale, along with a variety of events and entertainment.
Challenge Wales director Vicky Williams said: “We haven’t had many people from North Wales sailing with us and that is one of the reasons for coming to the All Wales Boat Show.
“We want to raise awareness of the charity, find new volunteers, and to let young people and youth groups know that we have a bursary fund for those who live in North Wales, which makes sail training accessible for them. Our bursary fund supports Welsh residents aged 12 – 25 years.
“The boat will be opened up at the show enabling all ages to learn about the charity, see the boat first hand and can learn about getting involved, such as by volunteering. We are an Approved Activity Provider for the Gold Residential Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme so that’s another way young people can get involved.
“We will also be running a competition to win a day sail for two on Challenge Wales and visitors to the boat can also book up for a future voyage, whether young people or adults.
“The All Wales Boat Show is a great way to demonstrate to people the fun and the skills that can be gained in the world of sailing.
“Challenge Wales is a sail training charity, both teaching people how to sail and helping those who step aboard to develop their personal and social skills.
“We give people a purpose and help to broaden their horizons, a goal to strive towards, the opportunity to experience the highs of achievement and success and sometimes the lows of failure but understanding how to cope with that.
“Teamwork, leadership, discipline, respect for others and communication skills are all developed while on board Challenge Wales.”
The yacht was originally known as Challenge Business 47 and successfully took part in two round the world races – the BT Global Challenge 2000-01 and the Global Challenge 2004-5, when it came joint seventh, taking 170 days to circle the globe. Designed by Robert Humphreys and built by Devenport Yachts in 2000, she was one of 12 identical yachts that took part in the toughest yacht race in the world and covering some 29,000 nautical miles.
Challenge Wales has also taken part in races including the famous Round the Island Race, Cowes in 2011(where she beat her sister yachts and half the Clipper fleet) and the Association of Sail Training Organisations (ASTO) Small Ships Race 2011 in the Solent, picking up her first trophy along the way.
In 2012 Challenge Wales was invited to be part of the Queen’s Jubilee Thames Pageant in London as part of the Avenue of Sail floating exhibition in St Katharine’s Dock. Challenge Wales’ attendance was endorsed by the Lord Lieutenant of South Glamorgan and she represented the youth of Wales in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Young people from different parts of Wales sailed Challenge Wales up the Thames as part of a special Jubilee Sailing Voyage.
The All Wales Boat Show is being organised by event management and marketing specialists Sbarc Ltd.
Managing Director Davina Carey-Evans said: “We are very excited that Challenge Wales will be coming to the show.
“She is a magnificent yacht and will provide a wonderful spectacle that I am sure will help inspire a new generation of sailors.