Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Sea-Change Sailing Trust

Sea-Change Sailing Trust are about changing lives for the better. They provide groups of youngsters and some adults, who in all probability, would never otherwise get the chance, an unforgettable experience of life at sea on a Thames sailing barge. This is not just about giving disadvantaged young people a memorable sailing experience though. This will be an unfamiliar environment for most new crew members who would have come from a broad spectrum of often challenged backgrounds to step on board into the unknown of the new surroundings;  Intriguing nautical shapes, spars and tall masts, bright paintwork and compass brass, shackles, knots and miles of rope forming a weave of rigging that make up their temporary floating home. Along the adventure that follows they will experience the highs and lows of the tide, suppers in the saloon, life in the galley, spider silk trailing from aloft, the physical effort to haul rope and set sail under the big skies of the glorious East-Coast.
Crew working the windlass © Sea-Change Sailing Trust
  For the young crews that man the decks, the familiar sound of modern gadgetry such as mobile phones and computers are exchanged for the breathtaking call of the curlew and the sing-song of sanderlings. Under the sound guidance of skipper Richard Titchener and mate, individuals can learn to be part of a team - ' the crew' and  gain positively from the sheer satisfaction that is shared after achieving immediate goals such as helping haul that great acreage of canvas foresail, to free the vang (pronounced wang) a little and let the topsail flutter, or heave through giant wooden blocks the enormous sprit-hung mainsail's sheet. To wind those seemingly impossible lee-board winches and point the helm to see black headed gulls croak while soaking up wind and salt from 80 odd tons of steel maritime history charging along due to your efforts.
 A few days spent harnessing nature like this is something that can be hard to compare with on our dusty city streets where car horns toot over exhaust fumes that billow.

Up the rigging © Sea-Change Sailing Trust
  To be away from home in this challenging 'other world' allows one to reflect a new look at things - to gain confidence in achievement and camaraderie, to aspire from learning life skills that will stand these youngsters in good stead for the rest of their lives. Having personally witnessed the type of work they are doing with youngsters I can't sing their praise enough.  The experience with Sea-Change is not just a one off either as there is ongoing mentoring that carries on once crews have stepped ashore. This can be a vital line of support for many young people, and is perhaps what makes the trust stand out from one or two similar sailing trusts.

 At present the Sea-Change Sailing Trust charter the sailing barge Reminder for these trips and have trips booked with the Cambria too. The Trust is doing such a fantastic job in providing this rather unique platform for young people to develop into bright futures that it now needs its own sailing barge.

  This is where your help in spreading the word can make all the difference. If we can make more people aware of Sea-Change Sailing Trust and the good work they are doing we just may, in however small a way, be able to help them with their appeal. The Trust are well under way to raise £650,000, which will build them a fully rigged steel sailing barge. One aim for the new barge is to carry cargo once more. The barge will be a replica of Blue Mermaid, the last barge to be built back in the 1930s. With this new vessel they will be able to run many more than the current amount of trips. To think that will enable Sea-Change to reach out to even more young people and effect a positive. 
  Whether you simply tell a friend, or donate in other ways, it doesn't matter, it will be valued enormously.

  The Trust are based in Maldon, at the head of River Blackwater. If you have any questions or want to know more please contact development officer Don Ramsay whose contact number, along with more detailed information on how to donate can found via this link to the Sea - Change Sailing Trust website.