Newsletter 18.6.16

An amazing gaff schooner has been donated by a charity in Switzerland to YWAM Newcastle, Australia who will use her for medical missions in Papua New Guinea. ‘Ruach’ was originally built in 1986 of steel and is 37m length overall, has GRT of 98 with 170 tonnes displacement and sail area of 550m2. She can carry 26.

I am helping prepare her in Germany to sail to a ‘heavy-lift’ ship that will carry her to Australia. She has had a very comprehensive €4.3m refit including replacing 55m2 of shell plating and a number of frames and major steel sections especially in the forward section. All the main deck was replaced. Almost all equipment aboard is new with a makers fully reconditioned engine.

After arriving in Australia she will be on tour to raise funds and support before sailing to Papua New Guinea. She will complement ‘YWAM PNG’ and the ‘Pacific Link’ in serving in missions there.

I am still skippering ‘Soteria’ in Ireland that was used by the BBC for film making in March and Ballycastle for their festival in May/June. Sponsorship, fund raising, bookings and maintenance for ‘Soteria’ have been very disappointing this year under the new shore management. However we have a long term regular booking with Drogheda for their pirate festival in July.

I am still skippering ‘Next Wave’ in Lesvos with others but she has only been able to move by flying in sufficient qualified crew each time to comply with regulations – but even stationary is providing valuable help to refugees. Lesvos has a population of 84,000 but has handled over 550,000 refugees! Euro Relief, the umbrella organisation for Christian charities there set up by Hellenic Ministries, has been notably successful at helping refugees taking into account their culture and philosophies. ‘Next Wave’ has been housing YWAM groups with the crew to help refugees in organised camps and a small community support room near the boat. We have concentrated on those in most need typically women and children and especially any pregnant and disabled. We have still built relationships with churches, youth groups and local government and had regular community events on board often led by local Greeks.