Sea-Fever blog


Brig Sale Away? by Peter A. Mello
August 24, 2007, 12:30 am
Filed under: sail training, tall ships

TSYT brigs Last night I got a Google Alert which pointed me to a blog that reported that the Tall Ships Youth Trust was going to sell one of their brigs. The post put forward the following quote:

“that as part of a major new initiative to restructure its fleet the trust is buying four new 22mtr yachts and selling one of its brigs.

The initiative has sail training and its young people at its heart. It enables the trust to expand the choice and opportunities it offers to young people, develop its work with challenging and disabled young people and, in the face of increasing financial pressures, achieve financial viability”

I posted a comment for confirmation but as of this writing I haven’t received a response. I visited the TSYT website and couldn’t find anything and an Internet search was also unsuccessful. Well,  this new media works in strange and wonderful ways.

This morning I received an email from my friend and former colleague Jonathan Harley, Race Director at the American Sail Training Association. He saw my comment on the blog and made a call “across the pond” to get to the facts. He reports that:

They purchased four 22Metre yachts that participated in the Global Challenge around the world yacht race;

They believe it will be easier to fill 4 smaller vessels;

All 4 vessels will travel together and will be a lead in to sailing on one of the Brigs;

No decision on which Brig will be sold;

Program will continue until end of this year with the 2 Brigs then one will be “mothballed;”

Decision was only made last Friday.

I find this to be very disappointing news. The Tall Ships Youth Trust, which was formerly known as the Sail Training Association, has a long and rich tall ship history. They launched the first Tall Ships races in 1956 and founded the International Sail Training Association, the predecessor to Sail Training International, the current organizers of The Tall Ships Races. For years they operated the schooners Sir Winston Churchill and the Malcolm Miller and earlier this decade they replaced those vessels with two beautiful brigantines, the Prince William and Stavros S. Niarchos.

From the front page of the Tall Ships Youth Trust website:

The Tall Ships Youth Trust is a registered charity dedicated to the personal development of young people aged 16 to 25 through the crewing of Tall Ships.

I can appreciate how terribly challenging it can be own and operate a even single ship of this size; however, this is the organization which really started the whole Tall Ships movement and remain to this day one of the industry leaders.

Over the years, thousands of young people have sailed and grown as a result of their experiences aboard TSYT / STA tall ships. It will be interesting to watch how they react to this news.

With no disrespect to the four “yachts” that will try to replace the one brig, it just isn’t the same experience. Deep water sailing on both yachts and tall ships can be life changing for young people; however, tall ships offer a deeper, richer challenge. No one forgets their first (or last) time going aloft to furl a topsail or topgallant. The spider web of lines and rigging and the number and variety of sails presents a real challenge to the newly initiated. Living and working with 25 or more other young people in a confined space over a extended period of time teaches so many valuable life lessons that have nothing to do with sailing. There’s a valid reason why many militaries around the world still use tall ships to train their elite officers even though no country has fought a war under sail for over 100 years.

Sorry, TSYT, four yachts will never equal one brig! Bad decision.

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3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

And now TYTS are selling the Stav

Comment by wing Chan

Maybe the USNA can finally get themselves a square-riggged vessel for sail training in addition to the small boats and yachts being used currently.

Comment by Ed Weglein

Great idea!

Comment by Peter A. Mello




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