£4.8 million contract

A £4.8million contact is being awarded to Spanish shipyard Astilleros Gondan S.A, and designers Acubens to build the Sea Cadets new 21st Century flagship which will take thousands of cadets on an offshore voyage.  

The new ship will replace the current ship, TS Royalist, now over 40 years old and increasingly expensive to maintain. A flagship voyage is the pinnacle of the Sea Cadet experience and one which the charity wants to ensure future generations of Sea Cadets can benefit from. TS Royalist launched in 1971 taking over 30,000 cadets to sea in her lifetime.

The new and innovative design offers greater use of space, with better all-round sailing ability and performance. Faster and easier to handle than Royalist, the new ship is also more economical to run. This makes it ideal for offering young people offshore sailing, helping them to learn greater seamanship and sailing skills. The ship is expected to be in service for 40 years.

The new 32m brig design has a pedigree drawing on large fast yachts, and will have an independent, aerodynamic shaped keel, with separate rudder and skeg, and a canoe shaped hull of high tensile steel (Royalist is mild steel) with a reticulated structure and GRP deckhouse giving reduced weight and a lower centre of gravity.

The charity spent two years fundraising £4.8 million to build a new ship, so far achieving £3.85 million of that target. The new ship will be ready for the 2015 sailing season launching as the old ship is decommissioned during the previous off sailing season. This means there will be no pause in the sailing programme and cadets will not miss out on an opportunity to take part in an offshore voyage.

The charity worked hard to keep the build in the UK, conscious of the country’s maritime heritage. Innovation and cost were of equal value to the charity having spent much time securing the funds from many donors; corporate, individuals, trusts and foundations, and Sea Cadet units across the UK. The final design offers a great balance between innovation and value for money.

Martin Coles, CEO of MSSC says: “Astilleros Gondan’s proposal delivers a technically advanced proposition with a great use of space and modern facilities providing a real step forward from TS Royalist in terms of overall design and sailing experience. With 55% of equipment sourced from the UK they have struck a good balance between home grown and cost effectiveness.

“We’re excited to see the new build up and running – ensuring generations of Sea Cadets can harness their futures and steer a course that is right for them through the incredible confidence nautical adventure gives them.”

Sea Cadets is a national nautical youth charity offering young people between 10 and 18 the best possible head start in life through nautical adventure and based on the customs and traditions of the Royal Navy. We help them to build a range of valuable skills for life and boost confidence.