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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland



02 June 2015

TS ROYALIST is the Sea Cadets flagship, a training brig that takes twenty-four cadets to sea for six day voyages. The vessel was designed by Acubens, built during 2014 / 2015 at the Spanish shipyard of Astilleros Gondán. The Princess Royal officially named the Marine Society and Sea Cadets' flagship, TS ROYALIST and attended a Reception afterwards at West India Docks, London.

Since 1971 Sea Cadets has championed the transformational experience an offshore voyage can offer a young person. The former flagship sailed over 200,000 nautical miles, taking 30,000 cadets on unforgettable adventures. The new flagship enables The Marine Society and Sea Cadets charity to continue offering the opportunity for generations of cadets to come.

The brig design draws on large faster yachts, offering greater use of space, with better all-round sailing ability and performance. Faster and easier to handle than the previous flagship, it is more economical to run - ideal for providing young people offshore sailing, assisting them to learn greater seamanship and sailing skills.

Maritime heritage and nautical training, including leadership and teamwork run deep in the charity's ethos and culture. As the flagship of Sea Cadets, TS ROYALIST will continue to play a pivotal part in this. For many young people, a voyage is a life changing experience, leaving them with a profound sense of achievement, self-worth and the confidence to take on the challenges of adult life. The Marine Society and Sea Cadets believe that a voyage at sea gives young people critical life skills, helping to make them leaders, seafarers and guardians of our communities in the future.

At the formal ceremony held at Canary Wharf, London, there were speeches from Martin J Coles, CEO at Marine Society and Sea Cadets and Robert Woods CBE, Chairman of the Flagship Appeal Committee. Each outlined one of the most significant achievements by the charity, which leaves a lasting legacy for young people - £4.8 million has been raised to build the vessel, a sign of commitment by the Charity to inspire young people for future generations.

It was a situation of déjà vu for HRH The Princess Royal, honouring the vessel by naming it TS ROYALIST as she did the former vessel forty-four years ago in 1971. Joining HRH The Princess Royal was Chaplain of the Fleet, The Venerable Ian Wheatley QHC Royal Navy, who conducted the Service. 

One hundred cadets from all over the United Kingdom travelled to take part in the Naming and Commissioning Ceremony, which included an inspection of the cadets by The Princess Royal, a thirty minute musical performance by Sefton Sea Cadets Glee Club and music from the Massed Band of the Sea Cadets Corps. 

Thousands of cadets had unforgettable, life-changing adventures on the former flagship TS ROYALIST, before she was decommissioned in 2014. To honour the previous ship and celebrate the new one, a competition was held, asking cadets, past and present, to write about their experiences on board. The winning entry:

It is the dead of night. The only sounds around me are lapping waves, whistling wind and cold lips sipping at warm, reassuring mugs of hot chocolate. I press the binoculars to my face, only to be greeted by darkness in every direction. But I do not feel terror or fright; quite the opposite. Being here, surrounded by new friends, is strangely comforting.

Moments later, a shaft of liquid gold pierces the gloom and illuminates the shimmering sea. Hushed voices whisper and point to the magnificent scene; a sunrise over the waves. I am bathed in soothing warmth as my chilled bones are thawed. What a beautiful sight!

This is but one memory among countless others of my three weeks on Royalist. They were the best three weeks of my life - for good reason! Thirty thousand others before me have experienced the sheer joy, exhilaration and confidence granted to us by just six marvellous days on this beloved ship, and I’m so glad that this wonderful voyage is open to thirty thousand more in the future!

Royalist isn’t about the destination; it’s about the journey. It’s about the skills and experiences that we pick up along the way. It’s about friends for life, and tales to share. Most of all, it’s about fun and adventure!