Irish Sea challenge

Ocean Youth Trust North, a sail training and youth development charity, has launched a competition to find ten youngsters from the North West and Cumbria to take part in an adventure sailing challenge in the Irish Sea.

OYT North is leading a series of voyages called the Irish Sea Adventure Challenge, sailing from Whitehaven in Cumbria on-board James Cook, its 70-foot purpose built sail training yacht, during August.

The charity is appealing for schools, colleges and youth work agencies in the North West and Cumbria to nominate deserving young people, aged 12-19, to win one of ten free crew places on the voyages. No previous sailing experience is required and all equipment will be provided.

Steve Lennon, general manager OYT North, said: ‘If you know someone who loves adventure and deserves to have a fantastic time then we’d like you to nominate them as a young sailor to join our crews this summer.’

The competition is part of a drive to re-establish sail training opportunities for young people in the North West of England and Cumbria following the closure of Ocean Youth Trust Northwest, a smaller regional trust which provided sail training on the Greater Manchester Challenge yacht.

OYT North is based in North Shields on Tyneside and has taught life skills and provided valuable personal development opportunities through sail training to over 10,000 young people across the North of England over the past 25 years.
The charity welcomes a diverse range of young people to sail on-board James Cook, including schools, colleges, Scouts and Guides, groups with special educational needs, visual impairment and young offenders.

OYT North is committed to expanding its operations in the North West and will base James Cook between Whitehaven and Barrow-in-Furness for three weeks in August.

The trust will run the Irish Sea Adventure Challenge voyages and hold a series of Open Days for schools, colleges and organisations interested in finding out more about the charity’s work with young people.

The winners of the competition will have the chance to learn from Grace Metcalfe, skipper of James Cook and winner of the 2013 International Young Sail Trainer of the Year award from Sail Training International.

Grace, from Garsdale in Cumbria, had never set foot on a boat before sailing with OYT North as an 18-year-old in 2003 and became the youngest skipper in the UK sail training fleet when she took command of James Cook in 2008.

‘Coming on an OYT North voyage is about much more than just learning to tie knots or taking the wheel for a short time, it’s about stepping out of your comfort zone and pushing yourself a little. It’s also about making great friends and seeing incredible sights like dolphins riding the bow wave and the sun setting over the sea,’ said Grace.

Young people sailing aboard James Cook learn how to navigate, set sails and take the helm. At the same time they gain valuable life skills by taking on responsibility for cooking and cleaning and develop team work, leadership, communication and problem solving skills.

To nominate a young person for one of the ten crew spaces on the Irish Sea Adventure Challenge, simply send an email stating – in less than 200 words – why the nominee deserves a place, and send it to Rob Browell, at:

Include your name, address, telephone number and contact details for the organisation you represent. Entries to the Irish Sea Adventure Challenge competition close at midnight on August 1, 2013.

For more about Ocean Youth Trust North: