Boleh Dreams Of Year Ahead

By News

At this time of year Ops Director Craig begins to firm up Boleh’s programme for the Season ahead.  Boleh herself is in the care of our volunteer technical team delivering the Winter Work Programme.  A refit of her masts (picture) – being refurbished thanks to the generosity of the Hedley Foundation – Boleh can only dream of fair winds, Solent harbours, Western shores, smiling children and lives rebuilt.  We are happy to reassure Boleh that a full 2024 programme is already shaping up well and will keep her busy until at least November!

After a post maintenance ‘shakedown’ and volunteer crew training, Boleh starts work mid April with the first of 4 week-long recovery sails for Service personnel.  May sees her at the Royal Engineers Lymington Yacht Rally and then, after hosting Pompey Military Kids and Gosport schoolchildren, Boleh’s off to Portland in June for the popular Dorset ‘Sail-for-a-Fiver’ schools programme. Next aboard in July and August will be successive Southwest Army Cadet Force crews before Boleh provides respite for Wiltshire young carers.  Autumn will be equally full, include veterans, the ASTO Small Ships Race, and possibly the Southampton Boat Show.

Our thanks to all those who make Boleh’s charitable work and this exciting programme possible.

Boleh’s Programme For Service Children And Families Secured. 

By News
We’re delighted to report that, thanks to the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity, Boleh will again provide sailing for children of active Service personnel and their families.  Last year Boleh sailed just short of 100 Service schoolchildren and this year, with the funding so generously provided, we hope this popular and successful programme could reach 150.  These young people come from Gosport and Fareham Multi-Academy Trust schools and the aptly named organisation ‘Pompey Military Kids’ which covers Portsmouth and Southsea.
The children’s benefit from the day at sea in Boleh is tangible.  As the local Families Engagement Officer put it “Apart from thoroughly enjoying themselves, they share experiences and express their feelings with those who understand their way of life, helping inform school staff about the Military lifestyle and its challenges, so enabling them to support the children better at school.”  Our picture shows Service children and teachers from Wimborne Primary School describing their Boleh adventure to HRH the Princess Royal, the RN&RM Charity’s Patron, on the occasion of her re-commissioning of Boleh in 2022.

‘Mast-ers’ of Boleh

By News

Boleh has started her important Winter Work Programme.   Much of the work will be done by our volunteers with a significant element carried out at Victoria Quay.  This recently developed marine services facility is on the historic site of the Royal Clarence Yard and just round the corner from Boleh’s Haslar berth.  Shortly before Christmas Boleh used the mobile crane there to lift off her quadruped mast for refurbishment and the renewal of her standing rigging.  Picture shows the off-loaded mast with the 4 volunteers who completed this ‘scary evolution’ and are truly the ‘mast-ers’ of Boleh.

Their experience and skill-set ensure this unique and complex vessel designed by Robin Kilroy in 1948 is, and remains, fit for purpose.  They are shown left to right: Mark Minshull, Chartered Engineer and Project Manager, responsible overall for Boleh’s maintenance and material state; Graham Westbrook, Project Naval Architect and our guide since 2009 on Boleh’s restoration, partial re-design and MCA compliance; David Hadfield, Nuclear Submarine Engineer with particular expertise on Boleh’s hybrid electric propulsion system; and Nigel Craine, Offshore Yachtmaster with a career in the marine electronics required to operate Boleh effectively and safely.

Christmas Greetings From Boleh And Her Team

By News

We make no excuse for using this lovely design by Carole Westbrook Designs from 2018 for a second time.  It’s based on the photo at page 160 of Robin Kilroy’s book ‘Boleh’, showing the vessel in ‘Trade Wind Rig’ half way between Singapore and Salcombe on their epic voyage in 1950.

We wish all our friends A Very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year, and thank you for all your support.

All Smiles For Boleh In 2023

By News

Despite the weather, we have smiling faces (pictured) to celebrate Boleh’s 2023 Season, with a record 120 days at sea over the 6 months.  We are delighted to report a 20% increase in young people sailed: Service schoolchildren, Army cadets, Dorset schools, Wiltshire young carers, and those troubled by mental health.  Adult sails have also risen: wounded, injured and sick from all 3 Services, military families, and accompanying teachers and mentors.  Unfortunately weather put a stop to our planned Channel crossing but Boleh has cruised extensively around the Solent and further afield.

All this is only achieved through the dedication of our Volunteers: an amazing technical and support team who respond instantly to any problem threatening Boleh’s charitable programme; Mates and Skippers, consistently lauded by our ‘customers’ for their care and professionalism, who willingly set aside their own priorities to plug any gaps in the operational roster; and our tireless fundraisers whose efforts literally keep us afloat!  Add to all this our energetic Ops Director, Craig, and the wise counsel of our Trustees and the recipe for this year’s success is almost complete.

The critical support of our many donors is the essential ingredient missing from that recipe.  We are humbled by, and extremely grateful for, the generous grants we receive to fund Boleh and her activities.  Most recently we are delighted to report a substantial grant from the Nuffield Trust for the Forces of the Crown towards Boleh’s Winter maintenance and next year’s Naval Personnel Recovery programme.  Thank you donors, thank you volunteers – we look forward to 2024 with confidence!

Boleh fully funded for Portland 2024

By News

We’re delighted to report Bournemouth based charity the Valentine Charitable Trust has made a generous donation towards Boleh’s participation in the Rod Shipley ‘Sail for a Fiver’ scheme, sailing Dorset schoolchildren next year.  Combined with earlier donations, this means Boleh’s delivery of this popular project for 2024 is now fully funded and Boleh will be able to give just under a hundred children a fantastic day afloat during her 3 week Portland deployment.

We are also pleased to announce that Trinity House has again supported the general costs of preparing for and executing Boleh’s sailing programmes for young people along the South Coast and in the Solent.  Their much appreciated grant will help the Trust to spread knowledge of the maritime world among these young people.  Picture – taken by our lead fundraiser and volunteer Mate, David Critchley – shows Boleh heading across Lyme Bay as dawn breaks on an earlier Portland deployment.  A big thank you to our donors and to our volunteers.

Boleh Team Changes

By News

Another successful Season is behind us and, sadly, we now have to say goodbye and a big thank you to three Trustees who are stepping down: Chris Austin, founder member of the Trust and Vice Chairman; Simon Springett, Ocean Yachtmaster and volunteer Skipper; and Catherine Mylet, Hon Secretary of the Trust.  At the same time we are happy to welcome a new face to the core Boleh Team: Ant Atkinson-Willes, former Army Reservist, volunteer Boleh Mate and fundraising team member, who takes over the important role of Trust Secretary.

Chris’s contribution to the Trust from its inception in 2009 included setting up and running the shipwright apprentice programme – a key part of the Boleh restoration – and subsequently the development of the Portsmouth and Gosport Schools sailing programme.  Picture shows Chris being presented with a BOLEH picture by Chair, Henry Middleton after the recent Boleh Board meeting.  Concluding his tribute, Henry said “Thank you, Chris, for your 14 years of outstanding service and for your wise, ever cheerful and invaluable counsel – we shall miss you!

Farewell Dave Sully – A True Boleh Hero

By News

It is with great sadness that we say farewell to Dave Sully whose death at the age of 86 marks the passing of one of Boleh’s true heroes. He was a key player in Roger Angel’s earlier rescue and restoration of Boleh in the 1980’s and part of her history thereafter.  His booklet, ‘Arising from the Ashes’, recording Roger’s restoration and their subsequent adventures on passage to the Mediterranean, is a cracking read and can be seen here

For the Boleh Team, struggling to restore Boleh over 20 years later, Dave was an inspiration, a huge and constant supporter, and a friend.  Dave’s involvement with the Boleh Trust since its foundation in 2009 has been ‘hands on’, keeping us in touch with the Angel family, helping research past history, and contributing News articles for our website – most recently in April this year.  It was fitting that Dave met HRH The Princess Royal last November (pictured}, receiving the recognition he so richly deserved for his service to Boleh.

Dave’s son-in-law, Geraint Williams, told us Dave’s funeral was low key as many contemporaries had pre-deceased him or were unable to attend. Technology, however, enabled the Service to be live streamed to friends and family across the globe; his own tribute can be seen by looking at Remembering Dave.  In response to our condolences Geraint said: “Many thanks for the Trust’s kind words for Dave, he really cherished his association with the whole Boleh Project. Our visit last year for HRH’s commissioning of Boleh and meeting all those involved and seeing at first hand the hard work to keep the precious vessel afloat was a very special highlight for him”.

Farewell Dave, our thoughts are with your family.  You helped save Boleh for future generations and we will not forget you.

Boleh Joins ‘Brilliant’ ASTO Race

By News

Last month Boleh joined other sail training vessels in the ASTO annual Small Ships Race, held in the Solent and run by them under rules which require half the crews to be under 25.  Boleh’s youth crew (pictured) were cadets Brandon and Issy (Devon ACF) and Eryn and Kieron both with RONA Project experience. Competitors assembled at Cowes the weekend of 6 October with a real buzz on the Quay where lots of wonderful vessels – Boleh turned many heads! – were flying their colours and sending a great vibe around the Race village.


The Race started on Saturday in a Force 6 and, with Skipper Richard Metcalfe and Mate Craig Coupe, Boleh set off downwind with one reef and smaller genoa for a cracking start, crossing the line bang on the gun.  Later the wind died down, the new large genoa was hoisted and Boleh worked her way slowly upwind and tide until the time allowance expired.  At the well attended prize giving we were very pleased to get 3rd out of our class.  On Sunday the crew planned Boleh’s return to Haslar and the weekend provided some great sailing for all onboard.

Eryn Larnder wrote afterwards “Thanks for a brilliant weekend and providing me with some brilliant memories. I really do hope I can get the chance to sail Boleh again and really get to grips with her!”  We will certainly do our best to provide that, and we are very grateful to all those who make such experiences available for young people.  So a big thank you to our volunteer Skippers and Mates, to the Boleh support team and to our generous donors, most recently the Swire Charitable Trust who have again shown confidence in our work with a 3-year commitment to contribute to our core costs.

Generous GARMIN Gift For Boleh

By News

We are delighted to report that electronics giant GARMIN whose products ‘deliver innovative GPS technology across diverse markets, including marine, aviation, fitness and outdoor recreation’ has generously donated a new suite of Navionics for Boleh.  The partnership approach between GARMIN and the Boleh Trust also involves GARMIN using Boleh for 6 days of corporate team-building over the next 2 years.  Their cutting edge technology will improve safety and operational efficiency, as well as providing enhanced teaching material for Boleh’s crew – instruction now includes bottom scanning with the sonar screen to verify navigation near wrecks.

For the technically minded, Boleh now has a 12” touchscreen Plotter (GPSMAP 1223) displayed in the cockpit locker. This is the ‘heart’ of the new system, linked to a 5” touchscreen at the Chart Table (TD50, only just released) which displays selected data including motor controls and charts.  There is also a new VHF radio (VHF215i) linked to a full function handset (GHS11i) sited alongside the Plotter.  All this is supported by the AIS Transponder transmitting Boleh’s data and providing other vessel tracking, together with associated sensors for wind, heading, etc.

Our heartfelt thanks to GARMIN and to Trustee and Volunteer Skipper, Nigel Craine for master-minding this very generous arrangement.