Members of Dublin’s dockland communities gathered at Poolbeg Yacht Club to celebrate more than 25 years of the Rinn Voyager Sailing Project.
Those in attendance included former volunteers, organisers and participants of the project over the years and saw the 42ft Rinn Voyager blessed during a ceremony. Speeches were also given by Dublin Port Harbour Master Michael McKenna, Lord Mayor of Dublin Nial Ring, Poolbeg Training manager Denis Murphy and former first mate of the Rinn Voyager Darren Dent.
The Rinn Voyager Sailing Project began in 1993 in response to feedback from the community for educational training facilities and opportunities for the communities around Dublin Port. Dublin Port Company agreed to match EU funding and supply the premises, facilities and engineering expertise to help launch the initiative. This enabled a group of unskilled school leavers and long-term unemployed people from Regal House, Dublin, build the Rinn Voyager. Upon completion, the sailing vessel was launched in 1994 by the then Irish President, Mary Robinson and for the past 24 years has been used by local community groups and organisations for outings, rehabilitative programmes and team building exercises through the medium of sail training.
The Rinn Voyager has also been used by drug treatment providers to deliver rehabilitation and reintegration programmes. It is estimated more than 7,300 service users of the Drugs & Alcohol Task Force have benefitted from The Rinn Voyager Sailing Project since their partnership began in 2006. Drug addicts in recovery can experience working and living on board the vessel for short periods of time. This sail training offers participants a challenge and another means with which to engage with drugs treatment and therapy.
Michael McKenna, Dublin Port Company Harbour Master said: “The Rinn Voyager Sailing Project has been a vital initiative for thousands of people in our neighbouring communities over the last 25 years. Dublin Port is very proud to have played its part in the programme and it is wonderful to see so many people benefiting from it. The opportunity to learn new skills and grow through personal development is one which can only enhance our city and let’s hope it continues for a further 25 years.”
Denis Murphy, Manager of Poolbeg Training CLG, which runs the project added: "The Drugs and Alcohol Task Force has utilised the service of the Rinn Voyager since 2006 and has acknowledged how important this unique facility is in helping those recovering from addiction to sail to full clean health and we look forward to continuing this partnership for many years to come. We also acknowledge the invaluable support from Dublin Port Company and look forward to their continued contribution."