Adventure and travel inspiration on the water…we find out more at the Bristol Expo!

Adventure is often seen as an exciting or unusual experience. It could be a road trip holiday, it could be going off the beaten track exploring, it could be exploring somewhere not too far from where you live to give you a different perspective. But, adventure can also mean doing something new, stepping into the unknown and learning  from the experience along the way.

Adventure means different things for different people, it could be something you do on your own, with friends or with strangers and yesterday one of the Challenge Wales team, Vicky,  headed to Bristol to the Women’s Adventure Expo to find out more.

The Women’s Adventure Expo (WAExpo) is the first and only adventure and travel expo in the UK dedicated to women and this event had a focus on water.

It was inspiring to hear that ‘normal’ people like you and me can…and do… become adventurers. The room was full of people interested in their first or next adventure and the event had a great mix of speakers; Sarah Outen MBE who, under her own power, rowed, cycled and kayaked around the world, Beth French who went from wheelchair-bound to endurance swimmer and self employed single mum, to Della Parsons who went from an office job to sailor and circumnavigating the world on a yacht to name a few.

A few things that the speakers were talking about resonated with Challenge Wales’ own adventures and young people & adults who might be thinking of jumping onboard but haven’t made that leap:

  • Don’t be limited by your every day life and what is around you. If you want to do something and can put your mind to it then yes, it is possible. Your friends or family may not be up for it, your friends may question why you are doing it but if you want to do it then go for it – you will have a fantastic story to tell on your return and you will learn a lot from your experiences.
  • The toughest part is getting to the start of your adventure. Taking part in an adventure whether a week or a year takes commitment and money. But it was clear once you have made the decision to do something a bit of planning and working through things (such as looking at fundraising) can make a huge difference.
  • You will regret not doing it. We often find this with Challenge Wales. The stories of dolphins and whales surfacing alongside the Challenge Wales boat, the fun and camaraderie onboard, the various weather conditions, the team bonding, the singing, the personal challenges sailing brings,  the celebrations at different ports when we do events, the friends that you make and the experiences that you share which are like no other. We often hear “I want to do that” or “I wish I could do that”. Our response….talk to us as “You Can.”
  • You need to nudge your boundaries to stretch your comfort zone. Everyone’s comfort zone is different. For some this can be jumping on a train to a new destination never visited before in the UK or overseas, it might be experiencing a new mode of travel such as kayak or sailing boat. Trying something new can take you out of what’s familiar, trying something of a longer duration can test you, jumping out of your comfort zone takes you on your own personal adventure.
  • While you are on your adventure, others will be carrying on with their day-to-day lives. Whether you are away for a week or two, a summer, a season or a year the stories we were hearing is that you come back with lots of experiences and stories to share but little would have changed at home. Your adventure, might inspire others.
Challenge Wales sailing in the Bristol Channel

Have your own adventure on Challenge Wales

Thanks Women’s Adventure Expo for the inspiration, now who’s ready for a sailing adventure?!


Challenge Wales is an ex-round the world racing yacht but now offers big boat sailing adventures for those aged 12 – 70 years to learn life skills and broaden horizons. No sailing experience is required to take part. Our summer adventures Tall Ships Racing are aimed at those aged 16 – 25 years who can be partially funded through our own and other bursary schemes to take part- we believe everyone should have the opportunity to take part. if they want it and we work hard to make this happen.  Adult adventures in 2017 for those aged 18 -70 will see Challenge Wales sailing from Cardiff around the UK (from Cardiff to Belfast to Aberdeen before crossing the North Sea) to the Baltic in different legs. Talk to us today about your next sailing adventure with Challenge Wales!  The Challenge Wales sail training charity is looking at helping more women to jump onboard for our adventurous voyages and then to become volunteer crew.
For details of the next Expo and to get inspired visit www.womensadventureexpo.co.uk

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Another award for Challenge Wales | Wales’ Tall Ship

It was the end to a busy week in Challenge Wales Towers. But what a week it became!

Our first residential of the season was about to start, a 9 day voyage from Cardiff to Lymington on the South Coast. Volunteer crew were getting ready to arrive, the boat had been prepped: fuelled, food onboard, cleaned. Paperwork had been prepared, marinas liaised with in preparation of our visit and emails & phone calls made to marine-based organisations who were also helping us with an educational element to our voyage.  Throw in some forecasted bad weather and contingency plans and yes, it was a busy week.

But before the voyage started there was one evening to be had. It was the South Wales Business Growth Awards 2017 and what was great about this was that Challenge Wales | Wales’ Tall Ship had been shortlisted as a finalist in not just one, but two categories: Innovation AND People Development.  To be a finalist is fantastic news and a great achievement for us. To be a finalist in two categories was amazing!

The Innovation Category  recognises companies who have successfully created innovative products or processes that make a difference – either by developing something new or delivering a significant improvement. There was tough competition and Challenge Wales didn’t win this. However, it was a different story for the People Development category.

The People Development award recognises businesses who put people at the heart of everything they do, enabling and inspiring their team through professional and personal development opportunities and support.  The host of the evening went up on stage with a gold envelope in hand, she leaned forward and said “And, the winner of the People Development Award is…….Challenge Wales”.

Trustees Vicky Williams and Andy Hall accept the award at the Business Growth Awards

WOW!! It was an amazing evening and a brilliant end to the week.

And, what does winning the People Development Award mean?

It is fantastic that a small charity like Challenge Wales gets recognition amongst the business world. It is great that judges have felt we were worthy winners. It is all about those special moments when we see young people develop confidence and skills they didn’t think they had, it is inspiring when we hear that someone we have helped has gone into employment as a result of our programme. But this award wasn’t just about the young people we help but the work we also do to develop volunteers …and it’s our volunteers who make the charity what it is and who have helped us to get this award.

…And then 36 hours later it was a quick change from black tie and posh frocks to deck shoes and waterproof clothes and getting ready for the first youth development college voyage of the year.


If you want to develop your skills with Challenge Wales and are aged 16 – 26 years then get in touch about our residential sail training voyages. If you want to develop yourself as a volunteer, then check our out volunteering pages on our website for more details. Younger than 16 years then join us on our shorter voyages.

The People Development award is the second award to be won in 2017 by Challenge Wales having won “UK Sail Training Vessel of the Year” in January – the highest award in the sail training industry.

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Challenge Wales wins UK Sail Training Vessel of The Year Award

We are excited to announce that Challenge Wales, Wales’ Tall Ship, has been awarded the UK Sail Training Vessel of the Year by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the Association of Sail Training Organisations (ASTO) at an industry conference in Southampton.

The award is given to a vessel which has had an exceptional year and has fulfilled both the Sail Training aspirations of ASTO plus the seamanship and safety requirements for the MCA. The award looks at good management, the sail training programme, innovations in the types of young people groups working with us, maintenance management and how results are measured.

For Challenge Wales to win this award is a fantastic accolade to our volunteers, who donate so much of their time to volunteer with us, supporters and staff and a great start to 2017.  YAY!!!!!

Sir Alan Massey (left), CEO of MCA presenting award to two Challenge Wales trustees. Pic credit: Max Mudie / ASTO

Sir Alan Massey (left), CEO of MCA presenting award to Vicky Williams and Andy Hall from Challenge Wales. Pic credit: Max Mudie / ASTO


Challenge Wales works with a wide range of groups and in 2016 has developed its sail training programme to include accreditation in Teamwork. Sail training opportunities are available for those aged 12 – 25 years regardless of their background. Challenge Wales works with young people in schools, colleges and as part of their DofE Award, and also works with those who are particularly disadvantaged and need additional support to jump aboard.

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A look back at 2016

Well, 2016 has certainly been a memorable year for Challenge Wales | Wales’ Tall Ship and before 2017 knocks on our porthole, we wanted to take a quick look back at the year. If you have missed some of our blog posts this year then we’ve linked some of them into the below too!

January and February
The beginning of the year is the time for training our volunteers and taking time out of sailing to undertake maintenance as part of our Planned Maintenance Programme. It’s often a cold, but fun and busy time of the year.

March
Challenge Wales  was a finalist in the South Wales Business Growth Awards in the Innovation category and although didn’t win was awarded Highly Commended. The same week Challenge Wales was awarded its largest grant to date to develop its accredited learning ‘Voyages of Discovery’ Programme – a 3 year programme of activities for disadvantaged young people.

April
Trialled a SEA and TELL programme – enabling those under 12 years old to come onboard. Although there is no sailing involved, the young people get to meet the Skipper, try winching, learn about the boat, see where everyone sleeps and to try out the bunks themselves and ask the Skipper & volunteers lots and lots of questions.

April saw the first of many residential youth voyages. One of our residential voyages over Easter had long lasting implications for one trainee who used it to turn his life around and break the cycle of unemployment he was in.

Learning the ropes

Learning the ropes

In April, we were also shouting at the television encouraging our London Marathon Fundraiser Runner to make it to the finish line. Well done for the amazing effort & commitment!

May
Challenge Wales continued with crew training and undertook the first of two ‘Sailing by the Stars’ voyage. Non-stop sailing which also involved seeing the International Space Station! (Yes, we did wave to you Tim Peak!). 2016 was Visit Wales’ ‘Year of Adventure‘ with the aim of putting Wales on the adventure map and we certainly provided some great Welsh adventures this year onboard.

Sailing by the stars

Sailing by the stars

June
Challenge Wales’ sail training season began and we were excited to be one of the Tall Ships as part of the Seafair Haven Festival in West Wales. Lots of local young people had the opportunity to jump onboard. West Wales is also a great place for dolphin watching!

Dophins swimming alongside Challenge Wales

Dolphin Watching off West Wales onboard Challenge Wales

July
Challenge Wales took part in its fundraiser Round the Island Race. A race against over 1,500 other boats of all shapes and sizes. It’s a day that adults can jump aboard Challenge Wales and experience big boat racing, while helping to support the charity. Challenge Wales beat the other Challenge 72’s (boats like us!) and then Challenge Wales headed to Antwerp to take part in the Tall Ships Races – one of the largest cultural youth events in Europe! We picked up a trophy along the way and an environment award – Yay! While the boat was working with young people in sunnier climes, our shoreside team spent a few days talking to visitors at the slightly rainier Bridgend County Show...meeting young people, adults and potential volunteers!

Taking Wales to Belgium, Spain and Portugal for Tall Ships Racing

Taking Wales to Belgium, Spain and Portugal for Tall Ships Racing

August
Over the summer we sailed almost 4,000 miles from Antwerp to Lisbon, crossing the Bay of Biscay, Lisbon to Cadiz (Southern Spain) and re, Cadiz to A Coruna (Northern Spain)…and all with young people onboard who met other young people from all over the world at the Tall Ships Events we were taking part in. A first was having a whale breach alongside the boat! We also celebrated International Youth Day on 12th August amongst young people from all over the world in A Coruna as part of the Tall Ships Races. We then headed back to the UK to take part in Small Ships Racing with other sail training vessels from the UK. August was also the month that our Youth Development Officer started – a role funded by the Big Lottery, and the month we welcomed hundreds of people onboard at the Cardiff Harbour Festival when we returned back to our home port after our summer adventure.

September
Many young people jumped aboard Challenge Wales throughout 2016 to take part in their Gold Residential DofE (Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme) and as an Approved Activity Provider for the DofE, we were excited to say ‘Ahoy’ to one of the Trustees of the DofE charity, His Royal Highness Prince Edward. We took him for a sail and he was shown the ropes by some of the young people we have had aboard this year.

HRH Prince Edward onboard Challenge Wales, before departing for the rest of his Royal visit in Cardiff

HRH Prince Edward onboard Challenge Wales, before departing for the rest of his Royal visit in Cardiff

November
A Sixtieth Anniversary celebration of the DofE was held at Westminster Abbey in the presence of the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex as well as celebrities, such as Philip Schofield, Charlie Boorman, Astronaut Chris Hadfield, Comedian John Culshaw, DofE volunteers and award holders of the DofE. A trustee of Challenge Wales, who is also a DofE Gold Award holder, was invited to attend and it was great we could be part of this very special event…and get a mention in the special Diamond Anniversary celebration booklet!

December
As the year comes to an end we get the phone call to say we are finalists in the South Wales Business Growth Awards in not just one but TWO categories, Innovation and People Development. Being a finalist is a great achievement but we will need to wait a few months until we find out whether we have won.

When we look back on the year we can’t believe or volunteers donated almost 14,000 hours of their time – amazing! We celebrated this achievement with a volunteer event in December in….Santa’s post office! Where else could you host a festive celebration event!

With 2017 on the horizon we’re looking forward to new stories, welcoming new volunteers as well as familiar faces back to the Challenge Wales fold, helping more young people achieve more, offering accredited voyages for the first time and raising awareness of sail training and its benefits throughout Wales and beyond.

We still need more support to do what we would like to do and fund those who need a bit of extra help to jump aboard, but we wouldn’t be where we are today with the support from businesses, funders, young people, group leaders, volunteers, donors and trustees.

Happy New Year and we hope you will continue to follow our journey in 2017!


To learn more about Challenge Wales’ youth work, adventure voyages, Tall Ships programme, bursary scheme, volunteering opportunities or how you can support Wales’ Tall Ship visit www.challengewales.org

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Challenge Wales announced as finalist in South Wales Business Growth Awards

Being a charity means working hard all year round to continue to make a difference. Recruiting and training volunteers, identifying funding sources, planning and delivering fundraising activities, undertaking strategic planning sessions to ensure we are on target towards our vision while understanding external influences outside our control can impact at any moment, working with beneficiaries and youth workers to ensure what we do is meeting the needs of the young people, evidencing activities and report writing for funders, developing ideas, consulting with stakeholders to name a few …..it’s ongoing.

Young carers working towards their Youth Achievement Award on Challenge Wales.

Young carers working towards their Youth Achievement Award on Challenge Wales.

As a visual charity (if you haven’t seen it, we have a big boat), that involves sail training on what is probably Wales’ largest sailing boat and sail training vessel quite often it can be forgotten in what is going on behind the scenes and what it takes to develop our volunteers and develop young people to improve their employment prospects and be seen as leading the way and an authority in sail training.

So it is always a fantastic feeling when we get told we are finalists for an award. As a young charity, it hasn’t happened all that often to be honest, but what a great feeling it was today when we were told we were finalists in not just one, but two categories in the South Wales Business Growth Awards. YAY!!!!

          

The Awards recognise and celebrate achievements across nine key areas of business growth and Challenge Wales | Wales’ Tall Ship is pleased to be shortlisted as a finalist in the Innovation category and the People Development category. Our excitement levels at Challenge Wales HQ are bubbling over, we feel delighted that the hard work of our volunteers, our innovative approach to learning, our positive can-do attitude directed at everyone regardless of their background and ability to improve someone’s own development is being recognised.

Youth development voyages on Challenge Wales

Youth development voyages on Challenge Wales

Sail training is often seen as people just sailing a boat but it is so much more than that; it is empowering, it is about developing teamwork and communication skills, it is about developing leaders, it is using decision making and planning skills, time keeping skills, it is about personal development and improving self-confidence. It is about improving social skills, understanding Welsh culture, wildlife, sustainability, it is about reflecting on one’s life before the voyage and reflection during the voyage in what can be a challenging situation and putting the skills learnt into an everyday situation. It’s about broadening horizons, giving people opportunities, putting a life-changing experience onto a CV. It’s about fun and camaraderie and meeting people from different parts of Wales, the UK and the World and understanding new cultures.  It’s also a nice link that Challenge Wales has been nominated for a business award and we are helping young people to develop skills to help them to get employment. We talked about the above in a previous blog post talked about “What price do you put on a life-changing experience.” It’s certainly worth a quick read!

 

Dophins swimming alongside Challenge Wales

Dolphin Watching off West Wales onboard Challenge Wales. The charity is also part of a Citizen Science [climate change] project to measure plankton levels using onboard equipment

It is great to be a finalist in what is often dominated by commercial companies, who aren’t charities themselves. Even small charities, like us, should be shouting about what they do and their individual successes (even when human resources are really limited!) as being shortlisted can only help raise awareness of the work they do.
Being shortlisted for an award is a fantastic end to a fantastic Challenge Wales year!


The announcement of the finalists of the South Wales Business Growth Awards 2017 will be on Thursday 2nd March 2017 in Cardiff. 

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There’s still time to celebrate Wales’ 2016 Year of Adventure

In 2016, Wales has certainly positioned itself as the UK’s top adventure destination.

For Visit Wales and the Welsh Government, 2016 was the ‘Year of Adventure’ bringing together people, venues & hospitality, Welsh destinations, Welsh activity providers and Ambassadors to put Wales on the adventure map.

Adventure is about discovering new and exciting places, having an unusual experience, being bold and just going for it. For some it is about pushing your limits and getting outside the comfort zone, for others it could be swapping GPS and mobile phone for a map, compass and walking boots or just visiting a new place for the first time and exploring at your own pace whatever your age or ability. And, the Year of Adventure is there to enable people to ‘#FindYourEpic’

Person on Challenge Wales getting ready to release the spinnaker

Getting ready to release the Spinnaker onboard Challenge Wales

Whether it is a zip wire, white water, wildlife & coast, mountain biking, castle, nostalgia  or festival that tickles your adventurous taste buds, Wales certainly has it.

With Wales having an impressive coastline, watersports should feature quite high up on an adventurers list. Rivers to explore by canoe or paddle board, wildlife to photograph, islands to visit, high speed boat rides to thrill and of course sailing.

Dophins swimming alongside Challenge Wales

Dolphin Watching off West Wales onboard Challenge Wales

With Wales having its own Tall Ship, Small Ship, Sail Training Vessel and round-the-world racing yacht that is there for those aged 12 – 75 to jump on – and yes, we are talking about one boat that ticks all those boxes – there has been no end of adventure in 2016 for those who have jumped onboard Challenge Wales. Some have been personal adventures, others have been memorable wildlife and cultural adventures.

Picture of Challenge Wales, wales' Tall Ship off Penarth Pier, near Cardiff

Adventurous activity near Cardiff

What’s more, Challenge Wales has not just been attracting people to Wales but has been flying the Welsh flag promoting Wales at the numerous events she has been part of this year on the South Coast of England, France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal and Wales itself.

But there is still time to #FindYourEpic and have a last adventure in 2016 as Wales’ Tall Ship adventures out into the Bristol Channel one last time in 2016 for a sailing voyage on Tuesday 27th December 2016. This voyage is suitable for those aged 16 – 75 and lasts just one day but is ideal to find your inner adventurer, try something new, do something different and experience one of the many Welsh adventures Wales holds – whether on your own, or with friends. And, with no sailing experience necessary to take part it is an adventure for all abilities. Challenge Wales is looking for 10 adventurers to jump aboard – could it be you?!

Challenge Wales sailing in the Bristol Channel

Have your own adventure on Challenge Wales

 


 

Voyages on Challenge Wales are suited for particular age groups but the last voyage of 2016 on Bank Holiday Tuesday 27th December is suited for those aged 16 – 75 years. The voyage is suited for those with no experience who are wanting to try something new to those with significant sailing experience who are wanting to experience an ex-round the world racing yacht. The cost is £99 per person which includes; a day on the water, training, waterproof trousers and jackets, life jackets, refreshments throughout the day, curry meal, fun, excitement and adventure! www.challengewales.org All profits go to the Challenge Wales charity which works with young people to improve their employment prospects through a sail training programme.

 

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Celebrating Volunteers

Where did the year go, and what a year it has been for Challenge Wales | Wales Tall Ship!

Without it’s volunteers, the Challenge Wales sail training charity wouldn’t be the charity it is today and wouldn’t have been able to deliver the life-changing experiences it gives to young people.

To say thank you to our amazing volunteers we held a festive Volunteers Evening on 1st December 2016 in…..Santa’s Post Office, Mermaid Quay, Cardiff Bay.  Well, where else would you host a festive celebration event!

santas-post-officeIt was an opportunity for volunteers to meet each other, for new volunteers to speak to our long term volunteers and for volunteers to meet the Challenge Wales Trustees and shore-side team.

santas-post-office-fireplaceAppreciating, and recognising, the value of volunteers’ contributions is really important to the Trustees of Challenge Wales – and this event was one way of doing that.  Amazingly, Challenge Wales volunteers had donated almost 14,000 hours of their time to the charity in 2016 alone – a huge achievement in itself.

challenge-wales-final-group

Thank you to our volunteers and supporters and here’s to an even better 2017.

And now that Christmas is truly on the horizon it is time for the Challenge Wales Trustees to write their Christmas list to Santa and hope he brings some new equipment and funding to help us reach even more young people next year!

Interested in joining us for our festive voyage on 27th December – ‘Yule’ find more information here: http://wp.me/p10gm1-bE


For further details on Santa’s Post Office in Cardiff Bay and how to visit it click here. Challenge Wales is looking for additional sailing volunteers to add to its current volunteer base for its 2017 voyages. You can find out more about volunteering here.

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Looking for an unusual Christmas Gift – Yule love this…

Christmas is now on the horizon…well-known stores have launched their emotional and expensive TV adverts to draw us in and get us commenting on social media, Christmas movies dominate some of the movie channels and with that famous red truck of the well-known soft drink making guest appearances around the UK you definitely know the “holidays are coming”.

But having made it through Christmases year after year it can sometimes be difficult to find the perfect gift for that special friend or relative.  Christmas disappears as quickly as it arrived, Auld Lang syne is sung and then it’s back to the usual day to day activities for the next year.

christmas-challenge-wales-2015

But have you thought about doing something different this year and give a gift that is not only going to be different, exhilarating and fun but will keep on giving well into 2017?

This year on Tuesday 27th December 2016, Challenge Wales | Wales’ Tall Ship will be hoisting the sails and heading out to sea in the Bristol Channel off Penarth for its FUNdraising Sail and Curry voyage.  No sailing experience is necessary to take part and this is a fun way to give to a local Welsh charity while blowing away the Christmas cobwebs and having loads of fun. A full day of sailing and a curry meal, it’s certainly a gift with a difference!

Everyone purchasing a place on this adult day voyage will be contributing to the Challenge Wales bursary fund, a fund which helps fund Welsh residents aged 12 – 25 years to learn employability skills through sailing. So by joining Challenge Wales on one of her big boat sailing days you will also be giving a life-changing experience to others in 2017.

And, what’s more the Challenge Wales sail training charity has found that often those who sail onboard on one of her adult fundraising trips come back as a volunteer to jump aboard on one of her many life-changing sailing adventures.

Whether on your own, with your partner or a small group of friends or colleagues – come and join Challenge Wales! And of course,  Gift vouchers are available too. Further details can be found on the sailing page of www.challengewales.org or by emailing reservations@challengewales.org or telephone 029 20 704 657.


Waterproof jackets & trousers and lifejackets provided, as well as all food and refreshments during the day and training. A curry meal is only served on Bank Holiday 27th December 2016. Maximum age 75 years. A maximum of 12 places are available. Cost is £99 per person for the day.

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From Wales to the other side of the world

Opening up a door of possibilities can actually mean opening up a world of possibilities.

Often you need to have the motivation to find that opportunity and, when an opportunity then passes by, have the enthusiasm to jump at it. For some people it is more difficult to find that motivation spark to ignite the hunt for a passing by opportunity. And, how do you know that opportunity (and the experience that it brings) is going to change you, or leave a footprint with you, for the better?

Sail training  helps people of all ages to develop their self-confidence (and not to mention teamwork, communication, resilience skills and more!) and once you have jumped aboard a sail training vessel then it can help provide the lighter paper so when a spark happens a world of possibilities can ignite. And, that is just what happened to someone who stepped aboard Challenge Wales – with no sailing experience – who then got to experience new countries and now there is an opportunity for others to do the same as part of a free International Exchange programme co-ordinated through ASTO the UK Association of Sail Training Organisations.

challenge-wales-australia-scholorship

Shannon’s Journey – From Cardiff Bay to Australia

Shannon, who decided to undertake a voyage on Challenge Wales in 2014, applied in 2015 for an Australian Tall Ship exchange and this gave her the confidence to start a career in sailing – something she had never thought about. Since applying for the exchange she has graduated from university, sailed on an Australian Tall Ship, completed a four month sailing course, became a crew member on yachts overseas, started skippering and became a sailing instructor working with other young people teaching them life skills, sailing and getting them to experience new places…and opening other doors of opportunity.  Now back in the UK, she spends time working with young people and planning the next adventure. But this all started with a voyage on Challenge Wales and an application to the UK Sail Training Association, which she says herself, didn’t think would be successful!

It’s not the sailing but the experience that has been life-changing; giving the opportunity to travel, meet new people and develop skills and confidence you never knew you had.

What’s stopping you broadening your horizons?

asto-international-exchange-challenge-wales


Challenge Wales offers a variety of sail training voyages, many of which are subsidised for young people aged 12 – 25 years. A young person who has sailed on Challenge Wales over the last 2 years, and is over 18, may be eligible to apply for a sail training International Exchange. For further details please visit the Association of Sail Training Organisations (ASTO) website here.

 

 

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We’ve had a right royal time….Ahoy HRH Prince Edward

It’s not everyday you expect to have a member of the royal family don lifejacket and deck shoes and jump aboard Challenge Wales. But as part of a Royal UK Tour to celebrate the Diamond Anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) that is exactly what happened!

On a damp day in Cardiff Bay,  HRH Prince Edward The Earl of Wessex, was introduced to some of the Challenge Wales volunteers and Trustees before being introduced to some of the young people who had worked with Challenge Wales on one of the DofE Award elements.

Trainees and volunteers lining up ready to welcome HRH Prince Edward, with Challenge Wales in the background

Trainees and volunteers lining up ready to welcome HRH Prince Edward, with Challenge Wales in the background

Challenge Wales has been an Approved Activity Provider for the DofE for the last few years and has welcomed many young people for their Gold Residential. If you aren’t aware of the DofE scheme it’s an opportunity for young people aged under 24 years to learn new skills, take part in volunteering, undertake physical activity, go on an expedition and for the Gold award, there is an extra element of a residential activity – meeting new people, experiencing new things, working as a team which must be away from home and for a minimum of 5 days. So, for Residential DofE activities, Challenge Wales fits the bill perfectly.

After the introductions and formalities were over, HRH was accompanied to Challenge Wales by some of our trainees…but of course not before he had spoken to some of the parents and family members who were providing moral support to those about to board Challenge Wales.

Two of the Challenge Wales trainees accompany HRH Prince Edward to Challenge Wales (photo by R Batten)

Two of the Challenge Wales trainees accompany HRH Prince Edward to Challenge Wales (photo by R Batten)

After the safety briefing onboard, Challenge Wales released her lines and motor sailed across Cardiff Bay. As Challenge Wales got nearer to her destination; Cardiff White Water centre, the mist seemed to lift. The young people showed HRH the ropes, hanking on a sail, working the snake pit, winching and helming before the voyage ended.

Challenge Wales motoring past the St Davids Hotel, Cardiff Bay

Challenge Wales motoring past the St David’s Hotel, Cardiff Bay (photo by M Horwood)

It was certainly a day to remember for those involved in this special Royal voyage.  We understand HRH had himself done sailing as part of his DofE when he was younger….no wonder he blends in well as one of the crew in the picture below!

HRH Prince Edward onboard Challenge Wales, before departing for the rest of his Royal visit in Cardiff

HRH Prince Edward onboard Challenge Wales, before departing for the rest of his Royal visit in Cardiff

Not only was it great to have a special visitor onboard Challenge Wales but it was fantastic to see how some of our young people had developed since undertaking their DofE with us. Just one of the many journeys that Challenge Wales helps young people with!

A royal wave from trainees and volunteers

A royal wave from trainees and volunteers


Challenge Wales is ideal for DofE Gold Residential providing a variety of voyages in 2017 that will suit the requirements of the award. For more information visit www.challengewales.org For more information on the DofE visit www.dofe.org

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