The Classic Young Sailors Foundation financially supported a crew of young students from a school in Wolverhampton aboard the replica Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter ‘Pegasus’ competing in the 2019 Classic Channel Regatta. The voyage was a great success and here is some of the very positive feedback in the school’s End of Voyage Report:

“Our Lady and St Chad Catholic Academy is situated in an area of social and economic disadvantage in Wolverhampton. The percentage of students who are supported through pupil premium and are entitled to free school meals is well above average. The majority of the group of students selected to be involved in the Classic Channel Regatta fall into this category.”

As this was no ordinary 5-day sailing experience, the expectations and experiences they encountered were far in excess of their initial ideas.”

The Classic Channel Regatta itinerary and information on the website confirmed the uniqueness of the opportunity that was on offer; the voyage was going to be an experience that would stay in the memories of all involved well into adult life. It was an exciting thought that our students would be part of events and activities such as evening supper parties, racing at a number of locations along the coast of England and France and sailing across the channel and meeting people from a variety of countries in Europe but to name a few.”

Despite all discussing the itinerary before leaving for the experience, and the expectations from their previous experiences; nothing truly prepared them for the full-on nature of the Regatta or the reception from other crews and observers. It was only as we were part of the first race start that the students could see the nature of the event in both intensity and number of ships involved… All expectations were blown out of the water and only when back at school weeks after their return, when talking to each other and their friends about the experience are they fully realising all the opportunities they gained through being asked to take part in the Regatta.”

Most lasting memory: “…the moment that the students most clearly remember is the arrival and parade upon entry to Paimpol harbour. In particular the aspects of being the second ship in the parade, the number of onlookers in the harbour and the reception of the musicians. Mind blowing for most and this helped them realise the size and importance of the event. “

All in all, we would all like to thank you for the opportunity you afforded our community. The families have given positive feedback as to the response and attitude of their children following the regatta, which just reinforces the view of the staff that the benefits of experiences such as this that the students receive will be seen in the years to come and are as such truly immeasurable. “


The 2021 voyages were for just six days as the Classic Channel Regatta to France had to be cancelled, and the crews were spread over two boats, all due to Covid restrictions on travel and numbers on board.

We are happy to say that, judging by the feedback from the trainees, the voyages on Pegasus and Johanna Lucretia at Dartmouth Classics and the passage race to Fowey have been highly successful. All the trainees appear to have had a very enjoyable and beneficial experience, and all are very complimentary about the professional skippers and mates. Highlights of the trainees feedback are given below.

And here is an extract from the email the skipper of Johanna Lucretia sent us soon after retiring from the race to Fowey due to lack of wind:

” just to notify you that JL has retired at 0745 this morning in a position 6nm due S of Salcombe. With no wind or steerage we were vanishing back to Start Point on the tide and a kamikaze trawler obliged us to stick the engine on anyway, so we figured we’d throw the towel in.

We’ve had an excellent race to this point, with one of the best ‘sail training’ night passages I can remember in a long time. The sailing was excellent right up until first thing this morning, and by getting offshore as we stemmed the tide, there was plenty to see, monitor on radar and avoid. The Milky Way was stunning, we saw shooting stars, and compass checked by sunset and sunrise; have seen dolphins and a minke whale. The young people have all managed to get up for their watches and partaken in all the steering and decision making, and one of my highlights of the night was tacking the schooner in complete darkness with the mate off watch and the young folk all knowing exactly what they were doing with zero moonlight. 

This morning, as the watch was called for breakfast upon spending the night “crossing the channel”, we have had croissants, chocolate chaud and played the allo allo theme tune to commemorate seeing the day in. All a bit whacky, but they’ve had fun with it.”

All I ask is a Tall Ship and a star to steer her by… and croissants for breakfast! What a wonderful experience for these young people, many of whom hadn’t been to sea before.

It is interesting to note that all the crew of Johanna Lucretia said they would like a longer trip – something that can be so beneficial, but is financially out of reach for all but a few. Our 2022 voyage aboard Pegasus will be for nine nights, so will fulfil that wish.


What did you learn about yourself?:

“Don’t be nervous, it’s life changing, challenging but rewarding.”

“Resilience, even the bad parts (seasickness) I was able to continue sailing and knew that the team would be there to support and keep us motivated. It…has shown me even more why I should attempt every challenge or experience that comes my way.”

“Embrace everything – even the bad parts, it just makes the good parts even better and helps you feel more resilient.”

“Given me more confidence to just dive into challenges. Take every opportunity and dive heads first into challenges with a smile on your face.”

“Having amazing people in my watch working well together.”

“Really does increase your social skills and allows you to meet new people.”

“I’ve gained a lot of confidence.”

“It was entirely unique from anything I’ve done before. It was informative, fun and challenging. I’ve made memories that I know I will look back on in years to come.”

“Beyond sailing skills, I have learnt a lot about trust in my own abilities. I have put myself in places outside my comfort zone and come out feeling better for it.”

All the trainees’ reports were full of praise for the professional skippers and mates.

All Johanna’s crew said they would have liked the voyage to be longer!