Sailing Changes Lives! Our Journey on ASPIRE360

Read all about our adventures on our ASPIRE360 Round Britain Challenge in 2023 and how it has truly changed lives

Sailing Changes Lives! Our Journey on ASPIRE360

  • 8 min read

Amazingly it’s been over a week since we returned from our #ASPIRE360 Round Britain challenge; where does the time go? Yesterday I spent a few hours looking back through all the pictures and videos we took, and there were many smiles reminiscing on the experience!

There are so many memories made on a trip where you spend 49 days together, from silly shared jokes to memories of sunsets, sunrises and dolphins. It takes a while to process all that we’ve achieved.

And the achievements are massive! We sailed 1758 nautical miles or 2023 land miles – how did that work out!! Visited 16 unique locations, from the beautiful lochs of Scotland to the famous Thames. Sailing for up to 40hrs at a time and getting to know each other over long nights (it’s incredible what conversations you have at 4 am!) and sunny days in a watch system that had them working 4hrs on, 4hrs off.

Each unique place has so many memories attached. Caernarfon and its fantastic castle and very shallow approaches in the dark. Belfast with so many memories! Drew greeted us with sausage butties and goodies when we arrived. Almost persuading his niece to join the trip, the Titanic Museum, and a walk into town, followed by a very wet and windy trip to Carrickfergus and the trainees singing and playing their ukeleles in the yacht club!  

Of course, the highlands of Scotland, where the amazing Loch a’ Choire stole the show with swimming, 600mtr mountains and deer visible on land. Not forgetting arriving at Corpach just as Princess Anne opened the new marina and the always impressive Caledonian Canal.

Leading into the East Coast and Edinburgh, visiting the Royal Yacht Britannia, which always has a personal connection to me, as my Dad worked aboard, and you can’t mention Edinburgh without our visit to the old town, which was awe-inspiring. Oh, and I can’t forget Isabel finding a cool climbing place in Inverness!

The East Coast of the UK often gets a bad hand, but Newcastle and the Millennium Bridge didn’t disappoint and the friendliness of North Shields marina. On to Hull and having to lift the boat (twice) and replace the Cutlass bearings! We can’t stop thanking Adam from ADR Marine for dropping everything and driving to Hull. But what a chance to explore the independent shops and go Ice Skating!

London always is impressive and steals the show with many adventures; Tower Bridge, Burrough Market, and the Tower of London, to name a few, and Portsmouth and playing on the beach in Salcombe! So many memories!

More importantly, there we so many personal achievements. From conquering fears to learning to cook and working together as a team. ‘Soft outcomes’ is what a Sail Training voyage is all about; learning to sail is a by-product of what happens aboard. This comment from a parent whose child sailed with us really encapsulates what Sail Training is all about.

'It was a huge learning curve for me as a parent, learning to let go and let my child find their own way on this incredible adventure. The experience has been amazing, life-changing even, both for my child and the growth in her confidence, but also the life-affirming inspiration we felt as a whole family, and even the wider community who have followed the adventure as if it were their own.'

Sail Training and a longer sailing voyage like ASPIRE360 really do change lives; the concentrated time aboard and the routine of sailing the boat (4hrs on, 4hrs off), night watches, caring for each other, making food, doing the dishes and the hundreds of other tasks aboard take a young person back to the basics.

That first 175 nautical mile leg between Fowey and Neyland in Wales is specifically there to be hard work, to level the playing field, and allow the trainees a real sense of achievement when they finally pull into port. Each leg after that becomes more manageable, but also, on every leg, that achievement is built upon. As they become more accustomed to sailing the boat, we add tasks and responsibilities.

Becoming the person in charge of preparing a meal at sea and being asked to organise and cook something you’ve never cooked before can be massively daunting. They prepared: full roast dinners, gammon & mash, bread rolls (from scratch), creative pie toppings, curries, bolognese and many more! For some they’ve not yet made a meal before stepping aboard!

But it’s not all about domestic chores; becoming a navigator is also an essential extra duty. When underway, at every hour, we write in the ship’s logbook: our position, course steered, speed, and what the weather is doing (wind, clouds & barometer). Finally, plot that position on the chart. A crucial part of sailing and essential in so many ways. This foundation then builds into understanding weather, tides, geography, and how to passage plan.

We must thank Imray, of course, for believing in the voyage and helping us to inspire a new generation. They invited us to become ambassadors and gave us all the paper charts we needed to sail around the UK and their Imray Explorer Guides by William Thomson, which has helped them understand ‘The Moon’, ‘Tides’ & ‘Tidal Streams’. The trainees also got their own copies at the end!

Whilst I’m on thanks, we need to thank YB Tracking for lending us everything we needed for you to follow our adventures at home. Their excellent tracker sends a satellite ping every hour, updating our position on a map which can be viewed online. You can see it here https://yb.tl/Aspire360-23. Something for us to purchase in the future after some fundraising.

Huge thanks also go out to the community in Fowey, whose welcome back brought tears to many an eye even whilst they were dancing on the foredeck to some of the crazy music I have woken them up with on Spotify during the trip (ask them about the seagull Star Wars parody or the Duck Song)! We couldn’t believe so many boats came out to cheer us in!

Special thanks must also go to both Royal Fowey Yacht Club and Fowey Gallants Sailing Club, who laid on the most fantastic pre-departure and return parties. And finally, thank you to Captain Paul Thomas and his team from Fowey Harbour, who have supported us so much!

Being able to sit back and see how much the trainees achieved on the voyage was truly humbling and awe-inspiring once again. Hearing from their parents and from themselves this week has made such an impact on us.

Comments like:

My confidence is through the roof

from the trainees are honest and accurate and how, just so simply, quantify how Sail Training really does change lives.

She says it is like she is the person she would have been without Covid happening, I just see that her confidence has grown immeasurably

from the parent of the same trainee!

This is where you may be able to help us. Vicky and I run the project while working nearly full-time on other jobs. Primarily this is because the Project is still at a point where it can't stand on its own feet, but we know it has so much potential to carry on making a massive change in young people.

It’s also important to note that the life-changing aspect of Sail Training also happens on much shorter voyages. We see a change in young people after a short weekend, albeit at a smaller level, but impactful all the more.

So where next for us?

This is where you could help. To become the organisation we know it can be, we need the Project to grow and build on the voyages we offer. Do you have a few hours free a week or month? We're looking for volunteers to assist with fundraising, shoreside operations, and sailing with us. By volunteering, you'll make a huge difference in young people's lives!

We have many more voyages planned throughout the season (click here to check them out), and of course, we have next year’s expedition to plan. We are toying with a few ideas, a more extended exploration of the Scottish & Ireland coastlines or even a run south to the Atlantic coast of France and Spain sailing down the Bay of Biscay. So many ideas!

Join the conversation, where do you think we should visit? WhatsApp, or email us with your ideas!

Finally, there is also Helen Mary R’s 40th Birthday to think about. In 2025 she will have sailed over 100,000 nautical miles and inspired over 5500 young people since she was launched in 1986—something we really need to celebrate.

One thing is certain; we will continue to ‘Use Sail Training to Inspire & Change Lives’!

Fair Winds

Matt

If you're interested in any aspect of what we do, please do get in contact; we can be contacted by:

hello@sailadventure.co.uk
07481546577 or on WhatsApp

We're also on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and others, just search for MorvarghSailing

Contact

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

Location:

Fowey, Cornwall

Email:

hello@sailadventure.co.uk

Call:

+44 (0)7481 546577

Vessel Location:

50°20'00.8"N 4°37'46.9"W

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