Preparing TS Royalist for the future

Royalist is about to have a big refit. Mark Middleton, Deputy Head of Offshore, says this will make it seaworthy for many more voyages

TS Royalist at sea
Sea Cadets flagship TS Royalist

Many of you have likely spent memorable days aboard our amazing flagship. As TS Royalist now reaches its 10th year in operation, 2024 will see an exciting season of sailing before the tall ship goes through a comprehensive overhaul during the winter of 2024/25. 

A decade of adventure

Since it was officially commissioned by our Admiral, The Princess Royal, in 2015, Royalist has been leading the offshore fleet, serving as a beacon of learning and adventure for sea cadets. Cadets and crew have navigated challenging waters, competed in and won Tall Ships Race events and represented the pinnacle of the Sea Cadets Experience. However, in order to continue, it is time for Royalist to receive some updates to its internal systems and generators.  

Maintaining standards 

Like any vessel, the rigours of the sea have an impact, and Royalist has experienced its fair share of wear and tear over the years. Each sailing season, it usually completes a circumnavigation of the UK, a distance of around 6,000 miles! To keep the ship going for your generation and the next, it is really
important that we invest in maintenance that will extend Royalist’s lifespan, so we can continue to offer cadets a safe and reliable training platform.

Cadet crew on TS Royalist
Cadets have amazing experiences on our flagship

Modernisation and safety

As technology evolves, vessels need their systems updated. Alongside many planned upgrades in the engine room, Royalist will receive new navigational display equipment, making it easier for the crew to navigate safely in the increasingly busy waters around the UK’s coastline.

Preserving traditions

While modernisation is essential, it’s equally important to preserve one of the very few remaining square-rigged vessels in the UK. TS Royalist has a rich heritage and a traditional charm that makes it renowned throughout the UK and among other sail training charities. The overhaul presents an opportunity for maintenance yards to maintain the traditional skills in shipbuilding and rigging, which are now rare here. Whether it’s restoring the classic fixtures or maintaining the iconic lines of its rigging, every effort will be made to honour TS Royalist’s legacy.

Close up of TS Royalist's hull
The refit will retain the tall ship’s traditional features

Funding the work

The refit and planned additional upgrades involve significant cost. But thanks to the amazing support from The Uren Foundation, which is sponsoring the mid-term refit, and The Naval Club and Square Rigger Club, which are supporting various upgrades, much of the work needed is already funded. We are also launching an appeal for further planned upgrades, so look out for news on our progress!

Charting a course 

But before Royalist’s overhaul, there is a year of adventure ahead! Highlights for cadets onboard will include taking part in the 80th commemoration of the D-Day landings in Normandy, an exploration of the Scottish Highlands and a historic boat weekend in Brixham. So, although its sails will be temporarily furled at the end of the season for the refit to commence, the spirit of adventure and camaraderie that TS Royalist embodies will continue, as the Offshore Team lays the foundations to create more unforgettable experiences for our cadets, for years to come.

Photos: Sea Cadets

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