Eight young people are preparing to leave Plymouth and set sail on the adventure of a lifetime to circumnavigate the UK aboard a 57ft tall ship.
ASPIRE 360 is an exciting expedition organised by The Mórvargh Sailing Project, a social enterprise offering inspiring sail training trips for young people on board tall ship the Helen Mary R, so they can learn about leadership, resourcefulness and teamwork.
On Sunday, April 2nd, a group of eight students aged between 14-19 will leave The Marina at Sutton Harbour in the historic heart of Plymouth to embark on a 1,735 nautical mile voyage around the UK, visiting 16 ports in two different countries, and learning how to sail - and live aboard - a traditional tall ship.
The eight young people taking part are from Westcountry locations including Plymouth, Tavistock, Torquay and Torbay, as well as one from East Sussex, and have met just once after being selected following a demanding application process, including a challenge activity day. They will spend the next five weeks learning everything they need to know about setting sails, steering and keeping watch, as well as cooking, cleaning and living aboard a tall ship in close quarters to each other and the staff on board.
Most have never sailed before, and they will all need to work as a team as they swap home comforts for single bunks, a moving deck, freezing temperatures and rough seas.
The Marina at Sutton Harbour has supported the ASPIRE 360 project by providing the Mórvargh team with a specially subsidised annual berthing rate for Helen Mary R in Plymouth’s 5 Gold Anchor marina, as part of the marina’s aim to support pioneering youth sail training schemes and become a national hub for projects inspiring young people to engage with their natural environment.
Helen Mary R is currently berthed at Guys Quay (opposite Cap’n Jaspers) as preparations are completed ready for her departure on April 2nd, and she is due to return on May 4th.
Matthew Barraud, director of the Mórvargh Sailing Project, said: “ASPIRE 360 will be a life-changing experience for the young people taking part, many of whom have no previous sailing experience. This will be a feat of pure physical, mental, emotional and academic endurance, and one which will leave the young people changed forever, instilling them with the confidence to know they can try and excel at anything.
“We expect to be battling strong winds and rough seas at times, but we will also be visiting 16 amazing ports with lots of educational visits planned, and there will be unparalleled opportunities to enjoy the beautiful coastline on our sail around the UK.
“Organising a major expedition like this has required huge support and we are enormously grateful to The Marina at Sutton Harbour, as well as to our many fundraisers and dedicated team of helpers.”
ASPIRE 360 represents the relaunch of the Mórvargh Sailing Project following three long years of fundraising to get the 57ft ketch re-coded and back into the water to inspire more lives through sail training opportunities.
The Marina at Sutton Harbour has previously supported the Mórvargh team by accommodating Helen Mary R whilst the team was fundraising in 2015 to pay for major repairs. This current subsidised berthing deal is a bespoke package created through the Marina’s S-Class service, which provides specialist berthing agreements for elite vessels.
Mark Brimacombe, Manager of The Marina at Sutton Harbour, said: “We firmly believe in the life-changing potential of sail training trips for young people, and the Marina regularly supports expeditions and projects like this whenever it can, recently welcoming the Challenge Wales team to Plymouth for example.
“The Mórvargh Sailing Project is a wonderful local social enterprise helping thousands of young people through its sail training trips. We have been delighted to support the ASPIRE 360 project this year, and we are sure it will be a wonderful experience for the eight lucky young people picked to take part.”
The ASPIRE 360 team will be hosting a small reception and blessing on Sunday April 2nd at The Marina at Sutton Harbour for parents and guests, who will be able to hop aboard and see the close quarters on the boat which the team will be living in for the next five weeks.
Members of the public are invited to wave off the Helen Mary R as she sails off at 1.30pm; the vantage point of Whitehouse Pier on the corner of Quay Road (alongside Cap’n Jaspers) in Sutton Harbour will offer a good view of the boat slipping the lines and heading towards the lock gates and out into Plymouth Sound.
During the journey, the young people will be uploading regular updates to the website at www.morvargh-sailing.co.uk/roundbritainchallenge
You can also follow the boat’s journey on a tracker and read updates on the social media channels at www.facebook.com/morvarghsailing and www.instagram.com/morvarghlife/