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A Tall Ship For Ireland: Is There a Lack of Joined–Up Thinking in Sail Training?

15th June 2017
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Sea Cadets Jack Petchey at Monkstown Marina in Cork Harbour Sea Cadets Jack Petchey at Monkstown Marina in Cork Harbour

Hello and you’re welcome to my weekly podcast on Afloat, based on my This Island Nation radio programme.

While debate continues – and so do efforts – to get another Tall Ship for Ireland – that would provide sail training at a time when there are some people questioning whether it is worth the trouble ... and at the same time Sail Training Ireland, as the National Sail Training Organisation, provides opportunities for sail training, I had a very interesting discussion aboard a 24-metre vessel which carries out this task, was built at a cost of stg£2.6m and was launched eight years ago with a 25-year lifespan.

This is the TS Jack Petchey where, through the good offices of James O’Brien who runs Monkstown Marina in Cork Harbour where the vessel was making a crew and trainees change/over, I had an interesting chat with Royal Navy Lt.Tom Forster in command.

You can hear him on my Podcast below as he explained how the vessel is operated by the Sea Cadet Corps, a national youth organisation sponsored by the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence and the Royal Navy. It is the UK’s largest naval cadet force, with over 19,500 cadets and adult volunteers. It was founded back in 1856 and also operates the Tall Ship Royalist and other vessel.

Tom Forster told me about the vessel:

Now, why does our Department of Defence and the Naval Service not have a similar involvement with sail training? Wouldn’t a sea cadet corps, with a focus on the Navy be a valuable potential recruiting source?

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