Ireland’s latest sail training vessel has anchored off Greencastle, on her way to Derry for the Foyle Maritime Festival.
She was purchased, in Sweden, by the charity, Atlantic Youth Trust, chaired by Round the World sailor and former Director of Coiste an Asgard, Enda O’Coineen.
The Atlantic Youth Trust was formed to connect Irish young people with the ocean and adventure while developing sustainability and supporting and protecting the environment.
It was formed by private individuals and organisations throughout the island of Ireland to offer youths an introduction to life at sea.
As well as being a sail training vessel, she will have a key role in areas of research, innovation, tourism promotion and providing a support outlet for vulnerable young people.
Mr O’Coineen, and the charity have been campaigning for years to acquire a replacement for the State’s last training ship, “Asgard II” , which sank in the Bay of Biscay on 11 September 2008.
The government of the day would not support salvaging the vessel and, instead, claimed the €3.8 million insurance money.
Thanks to the charity’s lobbying, €950, 000 in annual funding was secured from the National Lottery Fund. The charity committed to raising €2.5 million, in private sponsorship, to purchase the new vessel, “The Lady Ellen”, owned by Tarbet Shipping and operated out of Skarhamn, Sweden.
She is a 164-foot, Tradewind Schooner, built by Kockums Submarine Yard, In Karlskrona, Sweden, and launched 10th August 1980, for the luxury yacht charter market.
Although built of steel, she is a replica of the timber merchant schooner, “Ellen”, originally built in Denmark in 1909, to a design by Lars-Erik Johansson.
She will be upgraded to modern safety standards but will have her luxury passenger accommodation replaced by a simpler layout, better suited to a sail training role.
She will be rigged as a topsail schooner, with a 30-metre mainmast, carrying 13 sails setting 800 square metres.
She is powered by a 550hp Scania diesel engine, a 250hp Hundested bow-thruster, 2 x 46kw and 1 x 29kw generators.
The ship will be tied up in Derry for the Foyle Maritime Festival.
After that she will go to drydock for renovations and surveys before being registered in Ireland and renamed “Grace O’Malley”.
Picture and video of the Grace O’Malley courtesy of Aerial Vision NI https://www.facebook.com/aerialvisionni