Bristol Pilot Cutters Week, a scheme that helps get children out on the water, returns to Guernsey waters this June following a two year break, thanks to the support of the Set Sail Trust.
The two weeks is one of the Set Sail Trust’s key initiatives which has brought three replica pilot cutters to Guernsey since it was established in 2006. Throughout the two weeks primary school, underprivileged, disadvantaged children and youth groups will head out on the water for a unique nautical experience.
This year, the trust along with its corporate ambassadors aims to welcome over 750 children aboard the specialised sailing boats, the style and design of which comes from the single-masted cutter.
The Bristol Pilot Cutter’s purpose was to quickly ferry sailors to and from large ships with their speed and manoeuvrability needing only a minimal crew to operate the ship in any weather.
It’s not just about spending time on the water; the Trust is also committed to raising awareness of Guernsey’s rich nautical history.
Pilot Cutters is one of Britain’s largest sailing youth participation events in the United Kingdom, will see over 750 children from 12 schools and 13 youth groups benefit from the scheme.
Nic Beck, Skipper of the Pilot Cutters, says; ‘We love coming over and taking youngsters out exploring the Bailiwick of Guernsey’s beautiful waters. We run these initiatives across the UK, however, this is the largest sailing youth participation in Britain, which is fantastic.’
The trustees and corporate ambassadors for this year are; Apex, Appleby, Arollo, Bank of Butterfield, Canaccord, Carey Olsen, Cazenove Capital, IAM Advisory, KPMG, Levanto, Odey Wealth, PWC, Ravenscroft, Roy Bisson, and TPA.
Ahead of their trip, each child will be given an educational booklet with activities that they can complete before they get out on the water.
The booklet includes a section detailing the parts of the yacht, from the keel to the mainsail, so that the youngsters are able to help during their thrilling experience sailing a cutter ship. Next up is learning the weather, tides and the waters surrounding Guernsey, Herm and Sark such as landmarks to look out for.
In addition to learning about the boats, the groups will be taught about the impact of plastic pollution in our oceans, for example, 96% of items picked up from Guernsey beaches is plastic.
Andreas J Tautscher, Chairman of the Trust’s Advisory Committee, comments; ‘We are delighted to have the Pilot Cutters returning to our shores this year. Sailing is a big sport on the island and taking part in such nautical activities is a hugely rewarding experience that can teach invaluable life skills.
‘We’re proud to be able to give young people the opportunity to get out on the water as it’s something they might not otherwise experience. It’s important to educate the younger generation about the ocean and the impact that we are having on it, which is why the focus this year is on plastic pollution.’
D’Arcy Brimson, States of Guernsey Outdoor Educations Adviser concludes; ‘To be able to provide youngsters with the opportunity to get out exploring and learning about our seas is fantastic. Teaching them early about the impact we’re having on the planet is crucial in helping to ease the situation.
‘Setting sail on a Pilot Cutter will be an incredible experience that the youngsters won’t forget in a hurry.’