Continuing the good works of the Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Trust "Cornubia"

The Island Trust and the Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Trust splice together

In 2017 The Island Trust took over the good works of the Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Trust (Registered Charity number 1064726), who supported young people from special needs schools and day centres in Plymouth, Devon and Cornwall, some with life-limiting conditions. In 2016 BCPCT provided day sails to 146 children on their boat ‘Cornubia’. This work has expanded our own day-sail provision and is in addition to our residential sailing voyages.

John Hepburn from BCPCT joined our team and helped to ensure smooth transition of the programme. Together with John we continue to seek supplementary sources of funding in support of the increased demand on our resources.

On a typical day the young crew will observe, touch and feel marine life in the marina before examining it under the microscope and via an underwater camera on the seabed. After a safety brief and familiarisation with the boat, the trip begins easily by motoring upriver to the Tamar Bridges and back, allowing all to get used to the boat and its motion and to see maritime activities and their impacts on the landscape.

There are plenty of things in a specially written guide for them to spot and record. Those who wish to do so help hoist the sails before entering Plymouth Sound where they gain an appreciation of the geography, marine life and other ships and boats. They all get a chance to steer. On the return journey they help collect samples of plankton for microscopic examination.

Catch up with John’s reflections on the first week of Cornubia’s legacy, and his 2017 end of season report on our news page.

John Hepburn

John Hepburn

This is my second year with The Island Trust. I help develop and deliver the day trips for children with disabilities, and raise the funds for them.  I worked doing the same trips in the Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter, Cornubia, for six years. I started sailing when I was 14 and was a volunteer mate in the Ocean Youth Club sailing gaff and bermudan rigged boats in my early 20’s. I carried on sailing in my own and other people’s boats throughout my 30 years in the Navy. Since then I have worked with several organisations helping to raise awareness of the sea, the amazing things that live in it, and the amazing opportunities it offers. I hope to help The Island Trust get young people to understand how and why our ocean is so important to us all.