MDL Marinas and Ocean Youth Trust South have come together to celebrate an incredible 30 years of partnership, marked this month with the maiden voyage of the Trust’s new sail training vessel, Prolific. Young sailors from across the south of England took part in the intensive voyage, which included six inspirational young people who were chosen as worthy winners of MDL Marinas’ annual Sail Training Awards.
OYT South is a Hampshire-based charity which specialises in using an ‘Adventure Under Sail’ concept to help young people develop confidence and the essential problem solving skills needed to succeed in life. MDL Marinas and OYT first came together in 1987 to create the Sail Training Awards, which recognise the outstanding efforts of young people who have faced exceptional challenges, or have gone above and beyond to support others.
Three decades later and the annual awards are still going strong. This year’s MDL winners included George Hopwood, Ciaran Robinson and Alexandra Corrigan, all from Hampshire; Adam Gianfrancesco from Surrey and Rachel Mosley from Torquay.
The maiden voyage of Prolific saw 11 young people in total take to the Solent for a rigorous four-day sailing trip. The passage commenced from MDL’s Ocean Village Marina and the team made their way down to Dartmouth, being taught along the way how to sail the vessel, before circling back along the coast. During sailing, the team carried out drills such as rescuing a man overboard and pilotage planning, whilst having plenty of fun in between. Upon returning to shore, the young sailors deservedly earned a ‘Royal Yachting Association Start Yachting Certificate’.
Adrien Burnand, Head of Marketing at MDL Marinas, said: “Everyone involved in the transformation of Prolific has been eagerly awaiting its maiden voyage, and it’s fantastic that such a worthy team of young sailors marked the first passage. Combined that this is our 30th year of partnership with OYT, the sailing was a truly special experience. Our Sail Training Award winners were chosen for their inspirational attitudes and commitment to supporting others. It’s been a once-in-a-lifetime trip for those selected, honouring them for their remarkable achievements at such a young age.
“Over the last 30 years, the MDL sponsored Sail Training Awards have provided over 150 young people the opportunity to experience a trip on-board John Laing, Prolific’s predecessor, something which has been life-changing for some of our past winners. We are proud to continue to support OYT South with Prolific and the important work that it carries out.”
OYT South Staff Skipper, Andy Viney, commented: “We had a fantastic group of young people for Prolific’s first voyage with the charity, and we were absolutely delighted to be joined by the MDL award winners on this memorable trip. For the last 30 years MDL Marinas has given us tremendous support and, without them, we wouldn’t have this magnificent boat back in the water – so it was very fitting that they supplied so many of the young crew members for this voyage.
“The MDL award winners are always highly deserving and inspirational young people and this year’s winners were no exception. This week has been a great start to Prolific’s sailing career and we are all looking forward to offering more outstanding voyages, in partnership with MDL, as the season goes on.”
Rachel Mosley, one of the young MDL sailors who took part in the voyage, added: “I want to thank MDL Marinas and OYT South for the opportunity to take part in the sailing trip. I thoroughly enjoyed the week and it's really opened my eyes to sailing. The experience has given me the opportunity to go back as a junior boson and learn more about the boat and how the sea staff look after it and keep it running. Thank you again for the amazing opportunity.”
Prolific was bought by the charity in 2015 and has spent eighteen months undergoing a refit and modifications, with close support and sponsorship from MDL Marinas, ensuring it would sail safely and effectively for young people aged between 12 and 25. Prolific provides the opportunity for all to sail onboard, from keen and competent young sailors looking for real adventure, through to vulnerable and disadvantaged people who might never expected the chance to sail.
To see Prolific in action please visit the following link: https://youtu.be/TQ2Elp8AJvw. Further information about OYT South can be found at www.oytsouth.org/charity.asp.