70 ft mast is unstepped


The Port of Blyth has given a major lift to a North East sail training charity by removing a 70-foot mast from its flagship yacht.

Staff at the commercial port took time out from the business of unloading and storing cargo shipped from across the globe to help North Shields based Ocean Youth Trust North.

Cargo handlers at the port used a Liebherr 420 crane to lift the mast clear of the yacht’s decking and set it down for storage in the port’s warehouses over winter, at no cost to the charity.

Steve Lennon, general manager of OYT North, said: “We are hugely grateful and thankful to the Port of Blyth, its management and specialist staff for generously lifting off James Cook’s mast, a service which can be extremely expensive when carried out on a commercial basis.

It’s a huge helping hand to us and demonstrates the generosity and warmth of spirit that exists among the North East maritime community.”

The Port of Blyth is one of the busiest cargo ports in the UK handling over 1.5m tonnes of goods each year, including wind turbines, timber, metals and industrial commodities.

Kevin Vyse, terminal manager for Port of Blyth, said: “James Cook and OYT North are friends of the Port of Blyth. We regularly see the bright yellow ketch sailing off the North East coastline and we admire the work they do in our communities and with our young people.

It’s the least we can do to try and make sure they are able to continue offering opportunities for young people to experience the challenge and thrill of ocean sailing.”

North Shields based Ocean Youth Trust North is a registered charity providing personal development opportunities for young people aged 12-25 in Northern England through the medium of ocean sailing.

OYT North has been taking young people from Northern England on sail training expeditions for over 25 years, ever since the distinctive yellow yacht James Cook – named for Middlesbrough born explorer Captain Cook – was launched into the River Tyne in 1987.

This year OYT North crews and James Cook have travelled over 5700 nautical miles, run 45 voyages and sailed with over 500 young people from a diverse range of backgrounds.

OYT North runs voyages from March to November each year and has worked with organisations including Scouts, Guides and Sea Cadets, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Rotary Clubs, the 41 Club, The Cyrenians, Princes Trust and Action for Blind People.

The trust is now accepting bookings for voyages in 2014. To find out more, contact: office@oytnorth.org.uk or call: 0191 257 1212.