Forge bright futures through volunteering

Morvargh Sailing Project needs you! Help us make a bigger impact and secure the future of Sail Training in Cornwall.

Forge bright futures through volunteering

  • 8 min read

Morvargh Sailing Project is a small yet mighty Sail Training organisation that started in 2010 when we purchased our vessel, Helen Mary R, from the Rona Sailing Project. Initially founded by a mother and son team, Morvargh has always been a family-run volunteer organisation. We operated out of Plymouth until 2020, when we moved to our current Fowey location.

In 2013, disaster struck when Helen Mary R's standing rigging (the wires holding up the mast) was condemned, requiring £15,000 for emergency replacement. This unexpected challenge led to four years of fundraising, sacrifice, and even selling a house when the bank pulled support! But through grit, determination and loyalty from a handful of volunteers, we raised the money by 2017. 

We celebrated by sailing Helen Mary R around the entire UK with eight young trainees - a journey catalysing our passion for offering an expedition every year.

The COVID-19 pandemic prevented operations for some time for the UK Sail Training fleet. But in 2023, thanks to support from the Fowey community and a few stalwart volunteers, Morvargh weathered another crisis. We can't wait for the 2024 season! 

We're Matt and Vicky, the husband and wife team at the helm of Morvargh Sailing Project. At our core, we're passionate about sailing, adventure, and sharing unforgettable experiences with young people. While we're serious about safety and seamanship, we're also known for our fun-loving spirit. Morvargh is a labour of love we manage during our spare time (until the Project can employ us).

The voyages we offer aren't just adventures - they're life-changing experiences. There's something magical about being disconnected from land, living in close quarters, and relying on your shipmates that brings out incredible personal growth. We get to witness first-hand young people gaining confidence, developing grit and resilience when facing challenges, and forming friendships that last a lifetime. Our small-ship environment, coupled with the transformative power of the sea, makes for life-changing journeys.

Running Morvargh with just the two of us is an exhilarating journey, but it can sometimes be quite stressful! We find ourselves constantly juggling various responsibilities and wearing multiple hats, which requires us to be excellent "plate spinners" from coordinating schedules and maintaining Helen Mary R to managing budgets and ensuring everyone's safety. In itself, it is a significant task, but we also have to juggle working for other people. There are moments when we feel like we're on the brink of being overwhelmed. Still, in these very moments, a young person, volunteer or parent drops us a line and reminds us why it's all worth it.

However, we need help to continue to deliver life-changing sail training voyages and expand our impact. It is tiring keeping all the plates in the air. We need the support of volunteers now more than ever - whether it's helping with vessel maintenance, fundraising efforts, or participating as a crew. Our volunteers are the lifeblood that enables us to keep Morvargh Sailing Project running.


Ways you could get involved


Vessel Maintenance & Restoration
Our sail training vessel, Helen Mary R, is at the heart of Morvargh Sailing Project. Without her, none of our voyages would be possible. As Helen Mary approaches her 40th birthday, the care and maintenance required to keep her seaworthy increases yearly. We need all hands on deck to preserve this cherished boat. Helen Mary R holds a special place in many people's hearts, and it's not surprising; since she was launched in 1986, she has inspired over 5000+ young people and sailed over 100,000 miles! That is some legacy!

Specifically, we want to build a core group of volunteers skilled in areas such as woodworking, mechanics, painting, and electrical systems who can assist with annual refits and restoration projects. With the right expertise, we can ensure Helen Mary remains in shipshape condition for decades.

Opportunities span routine preservation like surface cleaning and painting to upgrading hardware and optimising equipment. We also conduct winter refits where volunteers can contribute to projects such as re-caulking the deck, installing new black tanks, installing new nav equipment, overhauling or servicing the engine, and reinforcing woodwork.

Whether you can lend a hand for an afternoon or a full weekend, we welcome any support in caring for Helen Mary. By dedicating your talents to maintaining this vessel, you allow Morvargh to continue sharing the magic of sailing with deserving young people year after year. Our ship can't sail without you!

Fundraising & Events
Delivering life-changing Sail Training voyages requires substantial funding. Annual expenses such as vessel upkeep (£10k), safety equipment hire & servicing (£2k), insurance (£2k), mooring (£3k) and operating costs add up quickly. We aim to remove all financial barriers so any young person can benefit from our voyages, but that means fundraising is a constant need.

We have dreams of growing our impact and need to start planning a major refit of Helen Mary R by purchasing new sails (£36k), waterproofs (£9k) and refreshing Helen Mary R's interior. However, as a grassroots social enterprise, we struggle to consistently secure grants and donations to support large-scale goals like these.

That's why volunteer fundraisers are instrumental in Morvargh's success right now. We need assistance coordinating year-round efforts, from hosting community events to preparing solid funding applications.

Whether you can leverage corporate connections for sponsorships or social media to crowdfund - your skills can make all the difference.

Building a bursary to help disadvantaged youth is more crucial as the cost of living climbs. With a dedicated volunteer fundraiser energising our outreach, think of the barriers we could break down! Let's work together towards launching life-changing voyages for young people who need it most.

Community Outreach
While Morvargh's small size allows us to be nimble and keep overheads low, it also means we struggle with widespread awareness of our organisation. We know that once young people, families, and potential volunteers experience our sail training voyages first-hand, they're hooked! We need help spreading the word.

That's why volunteers skilled in community outreach and education can make a real impact for Morvargh. Opportunities include contacting schools and youth groups to arrange presentations on our work. More broadly, we benefit when supporters share our mission within their communities and networks. Tell your friends what we do! Post about our work on social media! Every little exposure brings us closer to getting more young people on the water.

Whether you can devote some hours to structured outreach or share our story organically, you have the power to raise vital awareness. Let's work together to ensure no young person misses out on hearing about Morvargh's life-changing voyages!

Sailing as Volunteer Crew (Afterguard)
We also need sailing crew members, collectively called the "Afterguard". They are essential to help us deliver our voyages. Our Afterguard roles span Skippers, Mates, Watch Officers, and Watch Leaders. These sailing volunteers possess crucial maritime skills and credentials that ensure safe, smooth Sail Training voyages.

We seek volunteers with, a minimum, RYA Day Skipper certification or equivalent knowledge. Whether you can join for an entire expedition or assist during day sails, your talents enable our adventures. We have particular needs for Mates - a crucial role and second in command of Helen Mary R.

Helen Mary R wouldn't leave port without a dedicated, qualified sailing crew. Afterguard have a direct hand in changing lives! If you meet our sailing requirements and want to join our 2023 Afterguard, don't hesitate to get in touch! Sign up via our volunteering form here.


Our Amazing Volunteers

We've always believed that one of the successes in running Morvargh lies in the strength of our 'boat family.' Here, we are not just a crew; we are a tight-knit community bound by a shared love for sailing and an unwavering commitment to helping young people achieve their potential!

We couldn't run Morvargh Sailing Project without the dedication, belief and support of a fantastic group of volunteers. Each volunteer gives time and energy to support our mission: 'Using Sail Training to Inspire & Change Lives'.

Whether you help care for Helen Mary R through maintenance and restoration projects, energise our fundraising and events to make programmes accessible, participate as Afterguard during voyages, or raise awareness of our work through community outreach - volunteers are the lifeblood of our organisation.

We know our small size means volunteers take on crucial roles that underpin everything we do. While that responsibility is significant, your contributions empower us to deliver life-changing impact to deserving young people. Your talents allow young people to grow resilience, confidence, and grit through the magic of sailing.

At Morvargh Sailing Project, volunteers are not just part of a crew; they are family. Let's continue building treasured memories while shaping the next generation of bold, compassionate leaders. 

Our volunteers' commitment keeps our sails full and the boat forging through the waves - we can't do it without you!

Get in touch today if you can help in any way -


Morvargh Sailing Project is a Community Interest Company registered in England No: 07132688. Registered address: Willow Barn, Lower Bodwen, Redmoor, PL30 5AT


Fowey, Cornwall



+44 (0)7481 546577

Vessel Location:

50°20'00.8"N 4°37'46.9"W

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