Hugh Langworthy

New Beginnings for Trainees at Devon Sailing Charity

An apprentice sailor has come to the end of his watch working at a Devon-based sailing charity by welcoming aboard a new recruit.

Hugh Langworthy, from Tavistock, has been cutting his teeth at the Trinity Sailing Foundation for the past 12 months after being awarded a traineeship position through National Historic Ships UK.

His tenure at the Brixham-based charity is coming to an end, moving on to his next challenge, but not before welcoming 27-year-old Martin Hendry – 2015’s trainee – who is part of the second cohort of the Shipshape Heritage Training Partnership project.

Both Hugh and Martin got their chance through this UK-wide project which aims to deliver training in maintaining, operating and interpreting gaff, lugsail and spritsail-rigged historic vessels. Hugh has had a busy year working on the historic sailing vessel Provident, one of three vessels operated by Trinity, who take hundreds of young people to sea each year.

Hugh is now set to move on to another project working on the restoration of a 1903 built ketch called Garlandstone, which is based at Morwellham Quay on the River Tamar.

The 28-year-old said he has enjoyed learning a vast of array of essential skills over the past 12 months, working with Trinity on everything to do with sailing and conserving historic vessels, from the ins and outs of rigging to complex woodwork.

He said: “It’s been a great experience, working with an excellent crew and team, and I got to sail to the Channel Islands and Isles of Scilly which are places I had always wanted to go.”

Hugh has now passed the baton on to Edinburgh-born sailing fanatic Martin. Unlike Hugh, he has already worked for Trinity as a volunteer and was awarded the traineeship after making a great impression on his new employers.

He said: “I first gave Matt Gilchrist (Trinity’s Operation’s Manager) a call in early 2014 and said I wanted to get involved and he invited me to come down to help with the winter refit on the vessels. I had been working as a security guard for five years so I could guess you could say I was stuck in a rut. This was a way of changing direction and doing something I really love.”

After spending a year learning the ropes on Trinity’s 1892 vessel Leader, Martin picked up the necessary knowledge to apply for a traineeship.

He said: “I want to learn new skills and I look forward to going to sea and to gain more qualifications and build up my knowledge of historic sailing vessels, an added bonus is I get to take part in some amazing sailing experiences and go to some very interesting places.”

Martin’s traineeship is one of five being offered nationally in 2015 as part of National Historic Ships UK’s Shipshape Heritage Training Partnership project through ‘Skills for the Future’, a national programme to create new opportunities in work-based training for the heritage sector funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

By the end of the programme, trainees will have built up a record of operational, maintenance, conservation and interpretation skills set out in the form of a training passport of skills which can be shown to prospective employers as well as being a personal record reflecting what they have achieved.

Each of the five traineeships will be based at similar organisations, across the UK, all covering the essential skills needed for a career in the historic ships industry. Every one of the placements offers a slightly different experience depending on the main purpose of the host organisation and its vessels, with the opportunity to sail on at least two other types of historic vessel.

Director of National Historic Ships UK Martyn Heighton said: “I am delighted that we have another group of five excellent trainees this year, including Martin. It is essential that we halt decline in the traditional seamanship and vessel maintenance skills that are essential if we are to secure a sound future for the UK’s operational historic vessels.”

Martin will be spending his season with Trinity on their historic Brixham sailing trawler Leader, which this year will be sailing to Brittany, Cornwall, the Channel Islands, The Isles of Scilly, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Scandinavia.