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For many of us 2022 has been a year of two halves. On one hand the disruption of the pandemic has receded. On the other we now have a host of new issues to worry about, not least on the economic front.

It’s the same for us at RYST. 2022 has been a year of recognition in two senses: increasing recognition of the benefits delivered by making sailing available to young people, generously funded by so many of you; but at the same time, recognition of serious challenges ahead.

Let’s begin with recognition of the positives. This year we invited schools to tell us why they send their children to learn to sail with us and there was plenty of appreciation from teachers, parents and the children themselves.

New experiences for Foxhole children

Foxhole Learning Academy is one of the Trust’s most enthusiastic schools. George Keast, who looks after their sailing programme, says: “As a school located in an isolated village in Cornwall, with public transport links few and far between, learning to sail provides the perfect way to give our children new experiences.”

Restormel children building confidence

Kate Martin of Restormel Academy also sees sailing as a means of enriching children’s experience. She says: “Our pupils require a timetable with a variety of enrichment activities and some live so near the sea, but never get to go, so the opportunity to go sailing filled both of those gaps well. They gained in confidence hugely: you could see their self-esteem increasing over the course. They had new experiences they might never have accessed otherwise. We would like to send more pupils – if only they could all get this wonderful opportunity!

Pencalenick children trying ‘new and scary things’

Pencalenick School looks after children who need specialist provision. This year we welcomed them back at Mylor Sailability after two lost years of pandemic disruption. Andy Beckett says: “The sail training got a very positive mention from two of our leaving Year 11 students in their final speech at assembly in front of the parents. Piran, who did two of the courses and showed that he had a real flair, said that he loved the experience and the freedom that it gave him. Adam said that it had really given him confidence to try new and slightly scary things. Both thanked me, and this ex-paratrooper may have had something in his eye following that but was very proud – and it’s very much down to the support you have given us.”

Bob Warren ‘creating brave children’

Theresa Towe of Gorran School says: “I just wanted to say thank you from all parents who can’t believe how lucky their children are to have the opportunity to learn to sail. As a teacher, I truly believe that as well as the teamwork, sailing skills and confidence building that our sessions with Bob at Percuil provide, his team also create brave children, who when faced with challenges, use the skills they have been taught to keep a cool head and succeed. I feel that this is so important in an age where more and more young people are suffering from anxiety and depression. Being outside, being active, connecting with the environment and focusing on changes in the wind, water, and their surroundings can only make for happy children.”

All this is down to our kind supporters: private donors, charities like the Cornwall Community Foundation and corporate sponsors such as the Co-operative, Imerys, Murrell Associates, Waitrose and Rodda’s.

A huge thank you from all of us at the Trust for making the Schools Programme possible again this year. Your support has been fantastic from the start and the programme is going from strength to strength, with demand and recognition of its value growing all the time.

But – and here comes recognition of the negatives – we recognise that we’re entering difficult times. We’re receiving more and more applications for lessons and with inflation rising, it’s inevitable that the costs of sail training will also increase. Now more than ever we need to ensure that children’s health, wellbeing and personal development don’t fall victim to economic woes and that we continue to put Cornish children in touch with their heritage, often introducing them to the water for the first time.

Brannel schoolchildren at Polkerris Beach

This year we spent over £43,000 on our Schools Programme. Having forecast expenditure in 2023 and 2024, we estimate that we need to raise closer to £55,000 a year to sustain our model and bring more schools into the programme to satisfy demand.

When it comes to donations, size matters of course, but so does regularity, which helps with planning. If you’d like to donate monthly, you can do so simply by ticking a box on the Donate page on this website. And if you tick the Gift Aid box, you can increase the value of your donation by 25% at no cost to you, while reducing your income tax burden. Every little helps, as a certain retailer aptly points out.

Events: a fun way to fund raise

A great way of making a contribution – and having a lot of fun on the way – is via organising a fund-raising event. This year we benefitted from three.

An Open Day at St Austell Golf Club in April, sponsored by Imerys, raised enough to pay for 68 sailing lessons. With 40 entrants, the Percuil Regatta in August, sponsored by Portscatho Holidays, was especially well-supported this year, stripping St Mawes of all its club boats that day. And we’re grateful as ever to the Rustler 24/Piper Association for donating profits from the Tresanton Classics Regatta to the Trust – another great day on the water.

The Percuil Regatta

People have found other ways to raise money for the Trust, too. Following the success of his recipe book, Derek Holman has now written a second excellent book about Roseland walks called St Mawes and Nearby, available at St Mawes Post Office.

Derek Holman’s guide

St Mawes Sailing Club rib drivers donated fees received for covering racing this summer. Young Josh Whitaker, who sails at St Mawes Sailing Club, gave a presentation about the work of the Trust to the Dragon School in Oxford, which inspired them to make a sizeable donation. And two people donated boats which the Trust was able to sell to raise further funds. Our heartfelt thanks to all.

The inaugural RYST Schools Regatta

This year we organized our own regatta – the inaugural RYST Schools Regatta, introducing children from schools participating in our regular term-time programme to the excitement of racing, helping to create young sailors who will participate in club racing in the future.

Another aspect of our work that is gaining recognition is provision for the post-16 age group.
Following the success of the 2021 voyage on Tall Ship Maybe, described by one of the venturers as ‘the best 10 days of my life’, the Trust sent 14 more young people aged 16 to 19 on an adventure in August this year.

Maybe: all aboard for adventure

The expedition was made possible thanks to the generosity of local individuals and organisations, each of whom sponsored a place on board, with the Trust also covering the cost of a place.

We’re grateful to the 2021 corporate sponsors who renewed their sponsorship this year – estate agents H Tiddy, accountants Phillips Frith, St Just in Roseland Parish Council, St Mawes Pier & Harbour Company and St Mawes Sailing Club.

Thank you to five new corporate sponsors – Classic Cottages, Cornwall Community Foundation, Flushing Sailing Club, Frost Builders and Wing of St Mawes – who sponsored places aboard Maybe for the first time and to Cornish Lithium, who funded the training day.

And thank you to Beverley and Nathaniel Gee, Josh Lewis and Josh Kendle, private sponsors who sent three young people to sea.

A life-changing trip

The expedition was another resounding success. Said venturer Lillie-Rose Brannigan: “I had an amazing time. This life-changing trip has allowed me to experience a new range of things and new people, too. The skills that I have gained will be used in day-to-day life throughout the future, allowing me to seek better employment opportunities. During my time on Maybe I have learned how to work better in a team. Because of this trip, I have grown as a person.”

Indeed, the immediate and longer-term benefits of this kind of expedition have been recognised in research by Sail Training International. The skills and attitudes gained read like an employer’s fantasy checklist of the qualities they’d like to see in young people entering work: ‘improved communication skills’, ‘ability to overcome challenges’, ‘becoming brave’, ‘working well within hierarchical structures’…the list goes on.

Tall Ships in Falmouth

And we’re very excited that the Tall Ships Race returns to Falmouth in August 2023, this time hopefully without being cancelled again. We have reserved 14 places on Maybe for the first leg from Falmouth to A Coruna in Spain and are again seeking sponsors.

Finally, here’s one of the recognition highlights of the year: a picture and a poem from a series of drawings by children at Foxhole Academy expressing their delight at going sailing.

Sailing is my favourite thing to do
Always makes me laugh and puts a grin on my face
In the Pico sailing boat I feel different, I feel good, I feel free
Laying in the front seat of the boat I relax and paddle
I feel determined to do good and to get the Level 1 award
Now I have got the award I feel accomplished, and I will
Go sailing again!