Skip to content
#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal

Should we fork out €3.8 million for a sail training ship? Here's what's being proposed...

The group planning a new €16 million sail training vessel has been doing its homework on what’s required.
Jul 21st 2015, 10:20 PM 15,649 35

sp1 Source: The Spirit of New Zealand

IT’S SEVEN YEARS since the last national sail training vessel sank in the Bay of Biscay.

Asgard II was never replaced. Two years later another sail training vessel owned by the Ocean Youth Trust – the Lord Rank – also sank, off the coast of Antrim

Plans are now being progressed for a replacement sail training vessel, which could be used by young people from both sides of the border.

Cross-border organisation the Atlantic Youth Trust has been working on the project for the last three years – and is hoping to secure funding from both Dublin and Belfast to build a ship with capacity for 40 trainees.

The trust – which raised €200,000 in funding from corporate and philanthropic sources, before releasing its longer-term plans publicly – is also applying for funding to the EU, and is hoping to tap into funds set-aside for projects dedicated to progressing the Peace Process.

cabin The planned design of the cabin for the new ship.

Insurance money

The State received some €3.8 million in insurance following the sinking of the Asgard.

The trust is suggesting a funding level of around €4.8 million for its replacement.

“We’re not really banging the drum over that. It’s something we’re suggesting,” executive director of the body, Neil O’Hagan told 

Research carried out by the organisation found that the Australian and New Zealand methods of organising youth sail training were the most effective.

The Irish ship, if the project gets the go-ahead, would be a 48 metre steel-hulled barquentine based on Kiwi vessel the Spirit of New Zealand.

According to the Trust:

The New Zealand model has proved successful for 40-plus years, the programme is academically proven, and independent research highlighted it as the most suitable model for our needs.

Source: SpiritofAdventureNZ/YouTube

How will it work?

It’s planned forty trainees would be recruited for each five-to-ten day voyage on the new training vessel, on a 50:50 male-female split. They’ll be drawn from 40 different schools and youth groups right across Ireland.

As O’Hagan puts it, it’s less about teaching teenagers the finer details of open sea sailing, but more about developing “teamwork, leadership, communication” and other skills.

In other words – young people who end up on the ship via the Garda Diversion Scheme could be scrambling up the rigging alongside teenagers from south Dublin’s leafiest suburbs.

The Atlantic Youth Trust is hoping to hear back from the two governments by around this time next year. It’s hoped business and philanthropic donors will also come forward.

Once the tendering and construction phase of the project is complete, it could be 2019 before the as-yet-unnamed vessel takes to the waves.

Read: One of the world’s biggest tall ships just sailed to Ireland from Mexico 

Shipwreck report: ‘Desire for photo op meant Astrid tall ship was too close to the coast’

Send a tip to the author

Daragh Brophy


    Back to top