Do you know what is so significant about today, the 21st of July? On this day in 1969 the world held its breath and watched as Neil Armstrong took his first steps on the surface of the moon. Exactly 10 years to the day another significant occasion took place – Sail Training Vessel Donald Searle, was launched at the Southern Ocean Shipyard in Poole. Since then thousands of young men and women have taken their first steps on to her and become part of the unique and incredible history of Donald Searle and of the Rona Sailing Project. While much has changed in the world since her launch in 1979, what has not changed is the generous support of the Searle Family Trust and that of the many thousands of volunteers crew and staff who have sailed her in calm waters and rough and refit her on warm days and on cold days. Representing strength, resilience and determination, she is the pride and joy of the Rona Sailing Project and her legacy and that of her name sake, Donald Searle will continue for many years to come, despite, her programme being currently suspended.
We are sure that Donald Searle would be proud to see the contribution she has made to the Project and the benefit to all the young people and in particular to the adult crews such as Gemini, Mind and Phoenix Futures who have sailed on her.
She has a lot more to do, and so we remain hopeful that she will soon be underway again soon, sailing into people’s memories forever.