There hasn’t been much weather to cheer about recently but here’s a Boleh crew enjoying summer sun in a previous Season. Picture shows Soldiers from the Army Inshore Sailing Centre at Thorney Island testing the set of a spinnaker inherited from Roger Angel’s time as Boleh’s owner. Their conclusion – a few alterations would better match the rig of the restored Boleh. We are hoping Boleh will be able to team up with our friends at the AISC next Season to support their training programme.
On Friday 1st September 1950 at 16.10, Boleh dropped anchor off the Ferry Steps in Salcombe to a 3 gun salute from the Yacht Club and ‘a tremendous welcome from the Mayor, townspeople and summer visitors’. Her crew, ‘weary but triumphant’, had completed an epic 12,000 mile voyage from Singapore and were featured in the next day’s national press.
70 years on, Boleh was unfortunately unable to visit Salcombe to celebrate her Anniversary. However, like so many other events this year, her visit and celebrations have been postponed until next year. Picture taken on arrival shows Boleh’s Skipper and designer Robin Kilroy (bottom right) with crew (from left to right) Chang Hai Kun, Peter Aplin, John Rusher and George Jarvis.
Our 6th April news item proudly reported Practical Boat Owner’s inspiring article on Boleh and her history. What we didn’t spot at the time was the incorrect statement that a photo on Page 47 was that of owner, Roger Angel. In fact, the helmsman was Jeremy Rusher whose father, Lt Cdr J J S Rusher, crewed Boleh’s epic voyage from Singapore to Salcombe in 1950.
The PBO photo was taken off Palma in 1999 by Jeremy’s wife, Judy. She had traced Boleh the year before so her husband could celebrate 50 years since he was in Singapore as a child while Boleh was building. Judy rapidly traced Boleh via Salcombe and Malcolm Darch, contacting Roger who invited the Rushers to Palma and then allowed Jeremy to sail Boleh for ‘a wonderful experience’.
We are grateful to Jeremy for this information and for his active support of the Boleh Trust. In 2014 the Rusher family made their father’s voyage diary available to the Trust as a research source, and Jeremy has also arranged for mementoes, crafted from recovered Boleh timbers, to be sold in aid of the Trust (News item: https://www.bolehproject.com/boleh-reclaimed-material-mementoes-for-sale) – a few items still available with price including p&p!
We regret COVID-19 has so far stopped Boleh delivering this year’s sailing programme for Pompey’s Military Kids. But we are proud to say that our major funder, the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity, has given us a splendid Flag to recognise Boleh’s work for Naval children last year. Picture shows Trustees Mark and Chris onboard with the Flag.
Thank you RN&RMC – Boleh’s ready to sail the children again, once Government Guidelines and School priorities allow!
To complete Boleh’s transformation in 2015 from hulk to licensed sail training vessel, she had to pass a rigorous Maritime and Coastguard Agency survey. Like an MOT, Boleh’s licence to operate is renewed annually but, at the 5 year point, another major survey is required. Thanks to the sterling efforts of the Boleh Team, we’re delighted to report that she has again passed this testing exam and is now all set to go, fully coded for Cat 2 and Cat 4 sailing. Picture shows Boleh lifted out at Haslar for the final stage of the survey.
We’re happy to report that Boleh is taking the PM’s call for a return to work seriously. The Boleh team have at last been able to carry out sea trials and at the same time assess the feasibility of using Boleh within the restrictions imposed by COVID-19. The trial was a complete success and we are now planning a limited autumn programme with no more than 4 persons onboard.
Picture shows our lead Skipper, Richard Metcalfe, taking the lines on completion of the trial, as newly ‘inducted’ Boleh Skipper, Glenn Upton, guides her safely alongside in Haslar Marina. Richard and Glenn (who works for our partner, Halcyon Yachts) are hoping the programme can take Boleh as far West as Salcombe to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of her arrival there from Singapore. Watch this space!
70 years ago on 4 July 1950 Boleh called at Ascension Island in the South Atlantic during the closing stages of her journey from Singapore to the UK. The Island was discovered by the Portuguese Navigator Joao da Nova on Ascension Day 1501, and is now a British Military Base and a link to the Falkland Islands.
Chapter 23 of Robin Kilroy’s book ‘Boleh’ describes the visit and the warm hospitality offered by residents of this tiny Colony, many of whom worked for Cable & Wireless. Among those looking after the Boleh crew was Michael Miles whose son, Jinx, kindly sent these pictures from Australia – note top picture of Boleh at anchor with ‘tradewind rig’ booms spread.
Link to Robin Kilroy’s book ‘Boleh’: https://www.bolehproject.com/book/BolehByRobinKilroy.pdf
Its not often our website features a cricketing icon! This photo by David Rowe shows England paceman Jofra Archer with our new Trustee, Jon Surtees, showing off the ICC World Cup Trophy to crowds at the Kia Oval last year. Jon, who regularly mixes with giants of the game, is Head of Communications, Media and Community for Surrey County Cricket Club and author of several books on cricket.
We are delighted to welcome Jon to the Boleh Trust. He brings networking and journalistic skills to help raise Boleh’s profile, and experience of inner city schools and institutions to develop our charitable offering. Jon has yet to sail in Boleh but is excited at the prospect and quipped “I’m sure I’ll be bowled over by the experience”! We hope circumstances will allow him to get afloat as soon as possible.
Boleh should have been down in Portland again this week, starting her sailing programme with Dorset Schools. Instead, COVID-19 has her locked down in Haslar Marina, yearning for the open sea. We want to be sure Boleh is ready to get underway as soon as Guidelines allow. Who can tell when that will be but, in the meantime and with Haslar now open for business, we’re able to work onboard with social distancing. Mark’s picture shows Jason sprucing up Boleh’s starboard skylight.
We are pleased to report that we have just received the formal consent of the Charity Commission to add a new clause to the Charitable Objects of the Boleh Trust. In recognition of Boleh’s long history of support to the Armed Services, the Trust now has a fresh objective to provide: “Sail Training and leisure time activities for members of the Armed Forces and their families for the purpose of promoting the welfare and efficiency of the Forces of the Crown.”
Boleh’s sailing programme for 2020 – currently COVID stalled – continues this tradition of working with the Armed Forces and their families and we hope conditions will still allow us to deliver part of this commitment. Picture shows Service men and women enjoying a ‘soldiers wind’ while crewing Boleh last year.