The 2nd AGM of Atlantic Youth Trust (AYT) took place in the board room of the Commissioners of Irish Lights in Dún Laoghaire on Thursday 21st Jan. The inaugural AGM was in Belfast in Sept 2014. In between much has been achieved including participation at the Tall Ships in Belfast last summer.
The goal is to build a Tall Ship for the island of Ireland. The emphasis will be on youth development a concept that has been very well developed by a trust in New Zealand, see http://www.atlanticyouthtrust.org/.
After much consultation it was decided to build a new 45m steel vessel with a fulltime crew of 8 and 40 trainees. This vessel will be built to Class A passenger ship standards. EY completed an analysis of the project. The projected cost is €16m.
A huge milestone was passed in October when the Irish Government made a commitment to a portion of the capital sum. This was matched about a month later when the Northern Ireland Assembly decided to match this offer.
The figures have still to be finalised but there is huge backing from the top in both jurisdictions and much emphasis has been placed on education, youth training, helping disadvantaged youth and even giving a second chance to those who may not have got a good start in life.
We know from vessels like Asgard II and Lord Rank the bond that youths who sailed on them still hold dear. They may never have stepped on a vessel again but they learned so much in gelling together to sail a vessel for 10 days.
The next step is to draw down the funding which will go hand in hand with the tendering process and the final design. It is hoped that this can be achieved by June 2016. In the meantime we still need funds to keep this project alive.
After the AGM all those who attended went to the RIYC for a dinner provided by the club at cost and we heard two inspiring presentations from Conor O’Byrne, a Garda in Kevin Street, who took time off to sail around the world in the “Clipper” race. He told us of a man overboard incident during his race. It had a good outcome but shows how we have to be vigilant and well trained. Conor continues as a member of the Garda Sail Training Club which gives chances for disadvantaged youths to enjoy sailing. The second presentation was from Steward Hosford from Cork who is marketing Manager for the Hugo Boss entry in the Vendee Globe solo round the world race next November. He gave us an insight into the design and build of the IMOCA 60 yacht. We can see their commitment but they may face strong competition if Enda O’Coineen, President of AYT throws his hat in the ring having qualified for the same race.
Hopefully AYT can keep up the momentum and if the June deadline is met we could see the launch of this fine vessel in a three year time span.
Joe Ryan 27/1/16