A £4.8 million contract has been awarded to Spanish shipyard Astilleros Gondan S.A and designers Acubens to build the Sea Cadets' new 21st Century Flagship which will take thousands of young people on their first offshore voyage.
The new ship will replace the current ship, TS Royalist, now over 40 years old and increasingly expensive to maintain. A Sail Training voyage on the Flagship is the pinnacle of the Sea Cadet experience and one which the charity wants to ensure future generations of Sea Cadets can benefit from. TS Royalist launched in 1971 and has taken over 30,000 cadets to sea in her lifetime.
The Marine Society and Sea Cadets, the parent charity of the Seacadets, say the innovative design of the new ship offers greater use of space, with better all-round performance. The new ship will also be more economical to run. This makes it ideal for offering young people offshore sailing, helping them to learn seamanship and sailing skills. The new ship will be ready for the 2015 sailing season and is expected to be in service for 40 years.
The new 32m brig design has a pedigree drawing on large fast yachts, and will have an independent, aerodynamic shaped keel, with separate rudder and skeg, and a canoe shaped hull of high tensile steel with a reticulated structure and GRP deckhouse giving reduced weight and a lower centre of gravity.
The charity spent two years fundraising £4.8 million to build a new ship, so far achieving £3.85 million of that target. The new ship will be ready for the 2015 sailing season launching as the old ship is decommissioned during the previous off sailing season. This means there will be no pause in the sailing programme and cadets will not miss out on an opportunity to take part in an offshore voyage.
Innovation and cost were of equal value to the MSSC having spent much time securing the funds from many donors; corporate, individuals, trusts and foundations, and Sea Cadet units across the UK. The final design offers a great balance between innovation and value for money.
Martin Coles, CEO of MSSC says: "Astilleros Gondan's proposal delivers a technically advanced proposition with a great use of space and modern facilities providing a real step forward from TS Royalist in terms of overall design and sailing experience. With 55% of equipment sourced from the UK they have struck a good balance between home grown and cost effectiveness.
"We're excited to see the new build up and running – ensuring generations of Sea Cadets can harness their futures and steer a course that is right for them through the incredible confidence nautical adventure gives them."
Sea Cadets is a national nautical youth charity offering young people between 10 and 18 the best possible head start in life through nautical adventure and based on the customs and traditions of the Royal Navy. This helps them to build a range of valuable skills for life and boosts confidence.