A crew of 13 sailors with multiple sclerosis set sail on 9 April on an eight-day adventure from Portsmouth to Belfast, on board an iconic 72ft Challenger yacht with Tall Ships Youth Trust.
The sailors are all part of the Oceans of Hope UK charity set up in 2015, after a group of people with MS successfully circumnavigated the globe changing the perception of what’s possible for those living with a chronic and disabling disease. The charity is the home of the award-winning Oceans of Hope Challenges, offering people from all over the world the opportunity to sail alongside others with MS.
TSYT is the UK’s oldest and largest youth development sail training charity based in Portsmouth. The charity has a particular focus on working with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and has been providing young people from across the UK, aged 12-25, with life-changing experiences at sea for 65 years. The charity also offers adult adventure voyages to help fund its vital youth development work.
The individuals have formed a team with TSYT’s professional crew of four, made up of a Skipper, Mate and two Watch Leaders. The participants, who are aged between 34 and 65, have all sailed to different locations and on various vessels before, however, this is their first time onboard a 72ft Challenger.
TSYT operates a fleet of four 72ft Challengers that are famous for having raced twice round the world, as part of the Global Challenge races in 2000/2001 and again in 2004/2005. The race was unique in that it took the westabout route round the world against prevailing winds and currents – often referred to as the ‘wrong way’ route.
This is reassuring for the Oceans of Hope sailors who are looking forward to the challenge of braving the Irish Sea in the current chilly winds.
Oceans of Hope UK organiser, Robert Munns, said: “Oceans of Hope are immensely proud and excited to be working with such an amazing charity as Tall Ships Youth Trust.”
Chas Cowell, TSYT Youth Development and Volunteer Manager, added: “We’re delighted to be working with Oceans of Hope UK on its latest ‘challenge’, we’re confident they’ll all have an amazing adventure and want to sail with TSYT again! We hope this will be the start of a great partnership between our two charities.”
Updates from the voyage will be posted throughout the week across both charities’ social media platforms.