CEO on board

Our Chief Executive, Martin Coles CBE, shares his experience of joining the cadets and crew for a voyage on board TS Royalist

Martin Coles

I was delighted to join our flagship TS Royalist at the end of August as relief coxswain for a week-long cadet voyage from Falmouth to Plymouth, as the ship continued on its circumnavigation of the UK.  

No one can fail to be impressed by this iconic brig, with its two square sail masts and strong black and white livery. It looks like it’s straight out of Pirates of the Caribbean! As the 23 cadets joined the ship on Saturday afternoon, unpacked and changed into uniform, there was an air of excitement for the adventure ahead.

As ever, cadets came from all over the country, but bonded with the usual speed – instant teamwork was the order of the day so that we could set sail on schedule. Below deck, I was pleased to see everyone muck in with their share of stewarding and cleaning, taking real pride in a job well done. 

On Sunday morning the glorious weather provided perfect conditions for cadets to enjoy the ultimate Royalist test – climbing the rigging to perform an ‘up and over’ before we ventured in Falmouth Bay to practise sail setting.It was really positive to see the cadets interacting with the two young naval officers who are the Watch Officers onboard, providing role models near in age to the cadets and able to chat about their life in the Royal Navy.     

Cadets on the rigging of TS Royalist
Cadets enjoy blue skies and calm seas on TS Royalist

On Monday we had a great day’s sailing, before leaving port on Tuesday, bound for Fowey. After an afternoon of swimming at anchor and rides in the ship’s rib, the cadets had time ashore, then got ready for a 5am start for Salcombe. Rough seas led the Captain to make the wise call to alter course and make
for the calmer waters of Plymouth Sound. This provided the opportunity for a couple of days of great training under full sail, with the cadets becoming highly proficient in smoothly tacking and wearing the ship. Really impressive.  

Having accomplished so much on the voyage, the cadets couldn’t wait to get home to tell their families all about it. It was wonderful to witness the personal growth and development that is only possible at sea, and a privilege to sail with such an enthusiastic group of young people. 

Cadets receive their certificates
Cadets receive their certificates at the end of a week of adventure 

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