Update and Thanks from the Cirdan Sailing Trust

Last year the Education and Charity Committee awarded £2,000 to the Cirdan Sailing Trust.  Ed Humphries, the Chief Executive has sent the following letter and progress reports:

“On behalf of The Cirdan Sailing Trust, I would like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights for the support of our work and the donation of £2,000 in 2023.  The funds were used for our Voyage of Discovery Fund scheme in support of young people who benefited from the Cirdan experience in the 2023 season.  Please find enclosed a full report showing allocation of the funds along with thank you letter and reports from the groups that you have helped this year.  

The 2023 Season 

The Cirdan Sailing Trust enjoyed a good season of sailing across all three vessels during 2023, with Duet experiencing her busiest season for a number of years.  We faced a few challenges this year, most notably trouble with recruiting crew and some mechanical issues with Queen Galadriel including her steering, but these were fixed and she could coninue sailing for the rest of the season.  

We provided residentials for a wide range of youth groups including special needs schools, young carers, youth justice services, homeless organisations, air cadets, sea cadets, early intervention in psychosis service users and those needing some added direction in life.  In total, we completed 54 residentials across our three vessels this year. 

Duet completed her run of Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Gold Residentials across seven weeks during the school holidays.  The majority of the participants apply for financial support towards the cost of their place, many of whom are facing their own challenges such as autism, ADHD, low self-esteem, anxiety and from low-income families. Duet also took part in the exhilarating Round the Island Race in July. 

Faramir continued her 10-week circumnavigation programme around the UK, working with NHS Early Intervention in Psychosis service users.  Faramir came second in a very challenging Tall Ships Race from Den Helder to Hartlepool in July, facing gusts of 35 knots and waves of up to 6m in height.  

Queen Galadriel enjoyed sailing from the East and South coasts, working with young people with a variety of different needs and abilities. We were pleased to welcome our charity’s founder Bill Broad onboard Queen Galadriel in May for a special celebration for Cirdan’s 40th Anniversary.  All three vessels sailed into London mid-September where we a ended Hermitage Community Mooring’s open weekend.  We hosted a wonderful celebration, inviting people that have been connected to Cirdan over the last four decades, from shipwrights and engineers to past crew and staff members. 

More than 50% of the groups this year were new to Cirdan, and it has been great welcoming new youth organisations onboard to experience the challenges and excitement of life at sea. 

Winter Refit and 2024 Season

All three vessels are now laid up for the winter. Faramir and Duet are in Fambridge Marina whilst Queen Galadriel is in her regular winter mud berth in Maldon.  The MCA winter surveys have been completed, which highlight maintenance work that must be undertaken in order for the MCA operating licences to be issued next year.  We are looking at a busy refit period to turn the boats around for next season and will need to prioritise the most essential work.  We have a number of important capital projects to fundraise for including a new tender, planks and sails for Queen Galadriel, as well as lifejackets, a new AIS for Faramir and a full strip down of her engine. 

Our 2024 bookings are looking positive, with many weeks already booked by groups returning after having successful voyages with us in 2023 and seeing the benefits. Faramir will repeat her successful UK circumnavigation programme, working alongside early intervention in psychosis service users. Queen Galadriel will welcome groups old and new, sailing from the East and South coasts. Duet, as well as taking groups, will continue her run of DofE Gold Residentials, which are also open to any young person aged 16-25 wanting to experience life at sea. We have a number of voyages across our fleet next year for individuals to book places on, and these will be sailing from several locations including Fambridge, Ipswich, Hartlepool and Portsmouth.

Feedback from leaders this year has shown that many young people are still experiencing anxiety since the Covid pandemic and lockdown. Being outside on the water and taking part in teamwork has helped them to overcome personal challenges and build their confidence and self-esteem.

Your Invaluable Support

Fundraising is getting increasingly harder, and we have noticed a lot of funding budgets have decreased.

Overheads are also increasing; some substantially such as berthing costs, electricity, fuel, materials, and parts. Therefore, the amount we need to operate our Voyage of Discovery Fund is increasing every year. For the 2024 season, we estimate our target to be approximately £325,000 for the VOD scheme in addition to donations for vessel refit and general purposes.

We are very appreciative of The Worshipful Company of Shipwrights’ valuable support, and we would be enormously grateful if you could continue to support us in this way. Thank you once again for the generous donation made available to Cirdan last year and for taking the time to consider this appeal.”