Charity offers voyages of discovery for disabled children

Over 650 disabled children from schools and groups in Devon and Cornwall have day-sailed in the pilot cutter Cornubia on voyages of discovery in Plymouth Sound over the past 7 years free of charge, thanks to the Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Trust.

The charity was founded by Tony Winter, owner and skipper of Cornubia, who has now retired from commercial sailing but has arranged for the opportunities for the young people to be taken over by The Island Trust Ltd in their vessel Tectona.

In 2017 Cornubia’ s crew will join Tectona’ s in Plymouth Yacht Haven to continue taking out children from special needs schools and day centres in Plymouth, Devon and Cornwall.

On a typical day the children 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.

Karen, a teacher at Doubletrees School and a regular voyager in Cornubia said, “I feel privileged to be part of a team that can allow learners with complex physical and medical needs the opportunity to experience sailing on a beautiful pilot cutter.  We are excited about having new learning experiences and adventures with The Island Trust on their traditional vessels. Thank you.”