Tall ship docks to kickstart Silvery Light sail training project

By ELEANOR MCGILLIE 8 May, 2019

This is a fantastic story about a group of sailing enthusiasts who are seeking to restore a heritage tall ship called the Silvery Light which was built in Cornwall in 1884. Live It Experience It is partnering with The Silvery Light Sailing Company to document the story of this wonderful journey which is about to be embarked upon.

A NORTHERN Ireland sailing charity has welcomed a majestic tall ship and its crew at Victoria Lock in Newry after its 12 day voyage from Essex across the North Sea, English Channel and Irish Sea.

The Volharding, which was built in 1886, arrived in Carlingford with its crew of six volunteers and two professional sailors, in the early hours of Wednesday (08/05/19) before making its way along Carlingford Lough to Victoria Lock in Newry.

The ship, which sailed from Maldon in Essex, will be used by the Silvery Light Sailing Company – a charitable project aimed at injecting new life into our local maritime heritage through the restoration of another tall ship called the Silvery Light.

The Silvery Light is a 100ft heritage tall ship which was built in Cornwall in 1884 but she has been lying in disrepair at Newry Quays for many years. A group of trustees, who are managing the project, are hoping to secure funding which will see the former fishing vessel restored to its former glory.

Gerry Brennan, chairman of the Silvery Light Sailing Company, said: “We have been very lucky to secure the Volharding on a long term lease which will help us raise awareness for the need for such a vessel to secure our links with our maritime heritage.

“This is a unique project which will preserve a traditional wooden ship of acknowledged maritime heritage for future generations. When the Silvery Light is restored the vessel will be used as a sail training and skills platform which can be used by voluntary organisations, communities and visitors. It will also be available for hire for corporate team building days and as a unique accommodation offering for tourists.

The Silvery Light Sail Training Company

“Creating this project is very much led by the strong  desire to preserve a live link with local maritime heritage and skills. Having the Volharding will be a fantastic means for our project to reconnect us with our maritime history and hopefully secure the necessary funding to restore the Silvery Light.”

The charity has already secured a grant of £10,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Resilience Fund to commission a Project Business Plan and Strategy but it now seeks further funding through investors.

Paul Gibson, a director of The Silvery Light Sailing Company, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for investors, for coastal communities, for people hosting maritime events and for young people from disadvantaged areas.

“To see the Volharding dock was a fantastic sight. Its next voyage will be to the Belfast Maritime Festival, then it will go on to the Liverpool Maritime Festival and it will then be used for two sail training voyages funded by Peace 4.

“We are seeking out investors who would take great joy in being a part of this superb restoration story, to come on board with us, and enjoy seeing the Silvery Light project through from the beginning to end.”

To become involved contact in The Silvery Light Project or book the Volharding call 07968992647 or visit www.silverylight.org

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Eleanor McGillie

About Eleanor McGillie

Eleanor spent eight years working in the south west of England - one of the UK's most popular tourism hotspots. During her stint working with key players in the tourism sector she developed a love for all things outdoor adventure. As a journalist she got to travel to remote corners of the world to write travel features about the experiences of a particular place. Northern Ireland's story needs to be told and needs to reach new audiences. Live It Experience It aims to attract tourists from outside Ireland, people from Ireland and people who live in Northern Ireland but aren't aware of the extent of the adventures on our own doorsteps. Eleanor is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) at Associate Level