UK youth charity Sea Cadets Corps has taken delivery of six keelboat newbuilds, donated by Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, founder of Stelmar and easyJet. The boats will be rotated around the UK, providing keelboat training to cadets – and, in particular, helping them to obtain Royal Yachting Association (RYA) qualifications.
Speaking in June, Sea Cadets said: “These boats are expected to provide a minimum of 12 years of service for the benefit of over 1,000 cadets per year.” Originally founded in 1856 as the Naval Lads’ Brigade, the Sea Cadets currently relies on 9,000 volunteers to pass on essential nautical skills and training to young people aged between 10-18. The charity has 15,000 cadets on its books and receives support from the Royal Navy, the private sector and public donations. Martin Coles, Sea Cadets CEO, explains: “Many of our young people come from inner-city communities or disadvantaged areas and would never have imagined being able to access sail training…for many of our cadets, these keelboats mark the beginning of a life that would not otherwise have been available to them.”
All six were built by Southampton sailboat manufacturer RS Sailing, based on its RS21 class (see Technical Particulars, below). Each can accommodate up to four sailors though, RS Sailing states, the class can be operated by a minimum of two persons. Features include composite hulls, aluminium alloy booms, carbon composite masts and bowsprits and stainless steel wire shrouds and forestays. The halyards for the mainsails, jib sails and gennaker sails were produced in Dyneema and polyester.
RS claims a 50% ballast ratio for the RS21, while the model’s rocker shape is intended to ensure “good performance across the wind range”, the builder says. Speaking in late June, Sea Cadets told Ship & Boat International: “The new keelboats will be stationed at Royal Docks in London for now, but will soon begin to tour the UK with a first stop to Weymouth for a short period. The fleet of six will then be split into two groups, to maximise their reach across the country.”