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A REPLICA of a Thames Sailing Barge is soon to be based in Maldon.
The Blue Mermaid replica, which was officially launched on Tuesday, May 31, will be housed in Maldon Hythe Quay.
The original Blue Mermaid was built in 1930 but was lost during World War Two.
The replica was commissioned by the Sea-Change Sailing Trust as part of their Youth Sailing Scheme.
The launch was attended by Hilary Halajko and Richard Titchener, who run Sea-Change.
Speaking after the launch of the boat, Hilary said: "Today marks a landmark moment in our ambitions to get a new Thames barge into operation.
"We have £150,000 left to raise to get the barge finished once she gets to Essex and if we are successful we hope that ‘Blue Mermaid’ will enter service during 2017”.
The boat was launched in Cornwall, where it was built by C Toms & Sons boat builders.
Blue Mermaid will be towed up the English Channel to Maldon.
The barge will be used by the trust to teach young people traditional sailing skills.
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"Enjoy the experience, because it will be VERY different."
That was the message from Princess Anne as she visited Sunderland today ahead of the Tall Ships Races' visit to Sunderland in 2018. The Princess Royal told an audience at Sunderland's National Glass Centre she was 'amazed' the city had not hosted the event before.
"The Tall Ships have a way of attracting very large numbers of people," she said. "So it is entirely proper that you should have it here in Sunderland I am amazed you have not had it before.
"I am sure you will make the best possible use of the event."
The Princess' visit was a very special event for brothers Kieran Boyce and Saul Cranston.
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Cardiff Bay based Sail Training charity Challenge Wales has been awarded almost £250,000 by the Big Lottery Fund enabling the charity to work with even more young people locally and further afield over the next three years.
The funding is specifically for its “Voyages of Discovery” project enabling the charity to work with 400 young people who will be learning employability skills on accredited day and residential voyages. This will include teamwork and communication skills, decision making & planning skills as well as developing self-confidence. 100 volunteers will also benefit from additional training and support plus a new part time Education Officer role will be created.
Trustee Vicky Williams stated; This is an amazing opportunity for Challenge Wales to make a real difference in the outlook of many young people. Although Challenge Wales works with a wide range of young people from all over the UK in its sail training activities, the “Voyages of Discovery” project in particular is linking in with Local Authority Strategic Plans and the Welsh Government’s Tackling Poverty Action Plan to work with disadvantaged young people and groups.