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Project History

The Discovery Sailing Project was founded in 1971 as an extension to the Sea Scout activities taking place on board the RRS Discovery, then moored on the embankment opposite the Temple Underground Station. The Scout Association’s ‘Discovery Committee’ ran training courses and activities in boating and sailing on the River Thames from the 1930’s until the vessel was given to the Maritime Trust and moved to Dundee in 1979. The Discovery Committee moved its operations to the West India Docks and became the Dockland Scout Project.

 The Discovery Sailing Project continues successfully to take young people to sea to this day.

Our simple aim is to take young people to sea for their first time and then give them skills, training, fun and in due time, experience, in order to have the opportunity of their first command as a young skipper.

 Over the years we have taken many thousands of young people to sea who come from all walks of life, all backgrounds, rich or poor, able and disabled, many of whom are now members of the project sailing as skippers and mates.

 We have taken part in numerous Tall Ships Races to Russia, Finland, Poland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, France, Spain and Ireland. We have operated from Brighton, the Hamble, Gosport, the Medway, the Thames and the East Coast.

 Our first yacht was a Snapdragon 26; we progressed to a MacWester Wight class ketch, a legend 34 and since 1986 a Westerly Conway 36-ft sloop. We presently own, thanks to lottery funding and major fund raising, a Seastream 43 with 12 berths, a 60ft ex Round the World clipper yacht which sleeps 15 people and a 34ft yacht for our young skippers to sail in safe waters.

 We are able to provide the whole spectrum of sail training. The Dockland Scout Project, at their base on board the HQTS ‘Lord Amory”, provide dinghy sailing and the excitement of Drascombe gig and Whaler sailing, we can provide progressive offshore sail training from 34 feet to ‘big boat’ blue water sailing on a 43 or 60 foot purpose designed and built sail training yachts.

 We are a well established  and experienced sail training project being founder members of ASTO (the Association of Sail Training Organisations), a long established Royal Yachting Association Recognised Training Centre and one of the two Scout Association’s prime offshore sailing projects.

 We are always looking to expand our sail training family of volunteers so we can continue to take as many young people on the life changing experience of sail training.

 History:

 1971 The Discovery Committee agrees to the founding of the ‘Discovery Sailing Project’.

‘Rhuna of Stone’ a 26-foot, bilge keel, Snapdragon with 5 berths is purchased for £2,200 in September.

The funds are raised by each of the seven London Scout Counties and the Discovery Committee donating £50 each and Terry Bown, Chris Hemment and Mike Clement finding the rest. They become trustees.

The first unwieldy committee was set up with each of the donors having some form of representation. Mike Nadin appointed as first Honorary Organiser Geoff Preshner appointed as first Chairman.

Rhuna is towed to Terry Bown’s Garage in Clapham where she has a re-fit.

1972 Rhuna is re-launched at Gillingham on 2nd May. Mooring negotiated with Upnor Sailing Club.

First weekend ‘crew’ is made up from Westminster Venture Scouts. Crew is charged £2 each towards the £10 cost for the weekend (including food and travelling costs)

1973 We move to mooring at Gosport offered by London Sailing Project

1974 Rhuna is sold and ‘Spirit of Discovery’ a MacWester 31 foot, bilge keel, Wight Class Ketch with seven (squeeze 8) berths is purchased for £5,000. The three original trustees donate their ‘shares’.

The Discovery Sailing Project becomes a registered charity.

1979 Mr. & Mrs. Daw offer their hull of ‘Penkin’ and we become joint owners. We design, equip and fit out the hull as a seven-berth sloop. She is 32 feet and fin keel.

The Discovery Sailing Project becomes a registered RYA Teaching Establishment.

1981 Spirit of Discovery’ founders on the beach at Muddeford – she is a total loss.

We are given ‘Splashdown’ and an 18 foot, 4 berth, Eygethene racing yacht, which we moor at Brighton.

1982 Penkin is commissioned and sails from Gosport.

1983 The ‘Brighton Project’ starts with ‘Larvic’, a Colin Archer 60-foot ketch.

1984 Splashdown sold as we look for a new yacht.

1986 We sell ‘Penkin’ and raise enough money to buy ‘Storyline’ a Westerly Conway 36 foot, fin keeled with 8 (squeeze) berths. Based at Brighton.

Larvic ‘goes home’ to Norway and the Brighton Project buys ‘Chloe May’ a 45-foot Falmouth Pilot Cutter and ‘Get Knotted’ a 29 foot Westerly GK 29 with seven berths.

1989 We are given ‘Morlas O Lyn’ a 28 foot fin keeled yacht which is purchased by Mr. & Mrs. Daw in return for their shares in ‘Storyline’.

1994 Brighton Project closes down and Chloe May and Get Knotted are sold. The proceeds are vested with the Discovery Dockland Trust for use by the Sailing Project to purchase a new yacht.

1996 We start the search for a new yacht.

1999 We receive offer of funding from the Sport England Lottery Fund for new yacht

2000 We contract Seastream International to build our new yacht – a 43-foot, 12 berth, pilothouse cutter. To be named ‘Discovery’ Clive Fisher takes on role of Project Organiser

2001 Storyline is sold.

‘Discovery’ is launched and moored at Universal Shipyard on the Hamble. She is named by Lady Scott at the Dockland Scout Project in West India Docks London.

She then sails to Norway in the Tall Ships Race

2002 ‘Bambi’ a 26 foot Westerly Centaur is purchased especially for young skipper training, Discovery sails in Tall Ships Race and inaugural Small Ships Race

2003 The Project rents a Building at Universals for use a workshop, store, training room and office. Discovery sails in Small and Tall Ships Races

2006 We purchase the Ex Robin Knox Johnson’s Round the World racing yacht ‘Thermopylae Clipper’ a 60 ft., 15 berth cutter rigged. Discovery sails in the 50th Anniversary Tall Ships

Race from Torbay to Lisbon. Mike Nadin is aboard as a Veteran ‘Trainee’ from  the first race in 1956. Discovery and Thermopylae Sail in the Small Ships Race

2007 Thermopylae Clipper takes part in Tall Ships Race. Discovery and Thermopylae Sail in the Small Ships Race

2008 Thermopylae Clipper takes part in Tall Ships Race. Discovery and Thermopylae Sail in the Small Ships Race

2009 All three boats represent DSP in 100 Boats Celebration of Sea Scouting on River Hamble.

Thermopylae takes 100 Scouts to sea over a 10 week Circumnavigation of the UK to celebrate 100 years of Sea Scouting

Discovery and Thermopylae Sail in the Small Ships Race

2010 We are selected to purchase and run the ‘Alexander Fairey’ a 34 ft. sloop for the Alexander Fairey Memorial Trust. She is named by HRH Prince Edward at Universals in June.

Bambi is sold.

All three boats represent the project in the Small Ships Race

2011 Thermopylae Clipper takes part in Tall Ships Race. October 22nd we hold our first annual Trafalgar Dinner. All three boats represent the project in the Small Ships Race

2012 Thermopylae Clipper takes part in Tall Ships Race. All three boats represent the project in the Small Ships Race

2013 Thermopylae Clipper takes part in Tall Ships Race. All three boats represent the project in the Small Ships Race

2014 Thermopylae Clipper takes part in Tall Ships Race. All three boats represent the project in the Small Ships Race

2015 Thermopylae Clipper Circumnavigates the UK. All three boats represent the project in the Small Ships Race

2016 Thermopylae Clipper takes part in Tall Ships Race. All three boats represent the project in the Small Ships Race

2017 Thermopylae Clipper takes part in Tall Ships Race. All three boats represent the project in the Small Ships Race

2018 Thermopylae Clipper Circumnavigates the UK. All three boats represent the project in the Small Ships Race

Andrew Broadbent takes role of Project Organiser…

 2019 and Beyond…. Discovery Sailing Project endeavours to take as many young people to sea as possible taking part in Tall and Small ships races, Round the Island races and life changing Sail Training voyages…