The Discovery Sailing Project was founded in 1971 as an extension to the Sea Scout activities taking place on board the Royal Research Ship 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 as the Offshore Sailing section of the Dockland Scout Project. Now based on the river Hamble, we successfully to take Scouts, Explorers and other young people to sea to this day.
Over the years we have taken many thousands of young people to sea who come from all walks of life and all backgrounds. We have given them the skills and experience needed to sail, and many 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 a 1986 Westerly Conway 36-
- Discovery DSP, a Seastream 445 with 12 berths.
- Thermopylae Clipper, a 60 ft Clipper ex Round the World racing yacht which sleeps 15 people.
We also operate Alexander Fairey, 34 ft yacht used for Sea Staff training and enabling our young skippers to get experience of command. We operate this vessel on behalf of the Alexander Fairey Memorial Trust.
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.
1971 The Discovery Committee agrees to the founding of the ‘Discovery Sailing Project’.
‘Rhuna of Stone’ a 26-
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-
1972 Rhuna is re-
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 a 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-
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-
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-
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-
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 Universal Marina 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, sailed in the Baltic Sea. Discovery and Thermopylae Sail in the Small Ships Race.
2008 Thermopylae Clipper takes part in Tall Ships Race sailing from Liverpool to Norway to the Netherlands. 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.
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 Universal Marina in June.
Bambi is sold.
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 Britain. All three boats represent the project in the Small Ships Race
2016 Thermopylae Clipper and Discovery take part in the ASTO Small Ships Race Dartmouth to Gosport. All three boats represent the project in the Small Ships Race
2017 Thermopylae Clipper takes part in Tall Ships Race in the Baltic Sea. All three boats represent the project in the Small Ships Race.
2018 Thermopylae Clipper Circumnavigates Britain. All three boats represent the project in the Small Ships Race.
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 and life changing Sail Training voyages…