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.
The Boleh Trust is very proud to report that our Patron, Vice Admiral Sir David Steel is to take up the post of Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the British Overseas Territory Gibraltar in June. Sir David, who generously remains our Patron, will become Her Majesty the Queen’s Representative in the Territory.
The ‘Rock’ is a familiar image and this picture shows 18th Century shipping battling a sharp squall off the town. These were exactly the conditions Roger and Wendy Angel faced when trying to enter the Mediterranean with Boleh in 1986, calling first at Gibraltar. We wish our Patron fairer weather and every success in his new Appointment.
In these dark times, there’s just a glimmer of light ahead. It is encouraging to be able to report donations to the Boleh Trust from the Garfield Weston Foundation and from The Trinity House Maritime Charity. This generosity is particularly appreciated at a time when there are so many calls on charities. The Boleh Trust is extremely grateful to these two important organisations for renewing their support of our work.
These monies will help towards the core costs of operarting and caring for Boleh, as well as supporting the Trust’s programme for the Naval Families Federation and Pompey’s Military Kids in particular. We desperately hope it will not be too long before we are able to get children to sea again. Picture shows Boleh heading downwind, sporting her signature rig of boomed-out headsails and with a hint of sunshine ahead.
In 1984 two unusual vessels with a shared history met by accident in Ibiza. Boleh and her owner Roger Angel, bound for Majorca, anchored near the traditional Malay pinas (schooner) Naga Pelangi, with owner Christoph Swoboda onboard. Naga Pelangi (Malay for Rainbow Dragon) subsequently circumnavigated the Globe with Christoph, while Boleh and Roger made their home in the Mediterranean.
We are grateful to Christoph for contacting us to explain the link; both boats were built, 30 years apart, by the same shipwright family from Terengganu on the East coast of Malaysia. Naga Pelangi was built in 1980 by Che Ali bin Ngah and his sons at the same time as Roger was restoring the fire ravaged Boleh in Rye Harbour. And it was Che Ali in his youth who, with Embong bin Salleh, travelled to Singapore in 1949 to build Boleh for her designer Commander Robin Kilroy!
Picture shows Naga Pelangi on her maiden voyage in 1981. We’ve also posted other pictures of this lovely boat and of Che Ali on Facebook and Instagram, including a picture of Boleh leaving Ibiza, taken by Christoph in 1984. More about Naga Pelangi and the unique form of construction employed by Terengganu shipwrights can be found at www.naga-pelangi.com
We are delighted to report that Boleh will again have the professional support of Halcyon Yachts Ltd for the fifth year running. The Trust recently signed a Service Level Agreement with the Company for yacht management and crewing services, complementing the amazing work undertaken by our volunteers. When the sailing Season re-starts, Halcyon and the Boleh Trust will work together to provide young people with an inspiring introduction to sailing – as shown in this picture from last year.