'Spirit', The Prince's Trust training schooner
'Spirit' is a 92' Sail Training Schooner
operated by The Prince's Trust
We are unique - we only work with young people who are part of a
longer term Fairbridge programme. Our sea staff are skilled in
helping each young person who sails with us, to work on their
personal goals and ensure that valuable learning is carried beyond
their week on Spirit.
'Spirit' was built in Liverpool between 1981 and 1985 by the
Merseyside Trust. The trust was set up to provide a boat building
project for young Merseysiders working under the supervision of
craftsmen. Spirit is a 92’ replica of a Mersey bay pilot schooner,
used in the days of sail to guide large merchant ships into the
port of Liverpool.
Her construction is of larch planks on oak frames. While her
design is based on the original pilot schooner she has always been
operated as a sail training vessel and is fitted out as such. She
operates under the Maritime Coastguard Agency “code of practice”
for small commercial vessels and is inspected annually to ensure
her safety equipment and procedures are all in order. Below decks,
she has a large forecabin to accommodate up to 12 young people, two
heads (toilet compartments) three staff cabins, a main saloon and
galley area, wetlocker, engine room and lazarette. Above decks,
Spirit looks very much as an original pilot schooner would have,
save for now essential safety equipment such as life rafts,
guardrails and rescue boat.
Originally Spirit of Merseyside between 1991 and 1996 she was
renamed Spirit of Scotland through sponsorship by the power company
Scottish Nuclear. In 1997 she was renamed again, Spirit of
Fairbridge after the charity which has operated her since her
launch in 1985. She is now know simply as 'Spirit'
Between 2005 and 2007 Spirit underwent an extensive
refurbishment below decks including a new engine/engine room,
galley and head compartments and staff cabins. Most importantly the
bilge areas under the cabin soles and water tanks have been
exposed, properly cleaned back and repainted. While maintenance
onboard is never ending it is hoped that the latest refurbishment
should allow Spirit to continue to operate for years to come.
At the beginning of 2007 we entered a long-term partnership with
Bibby Line Group Ltd, one of the oldest independent shipping
companies in the world. Based in Liverpool, Bibby is an ideal
sponsor for Spirit as she is a replica of the pilot vessels which
would have guided Bibby’s first ships into the Mersey. The
partnership will ensure that most of our core costs are secure
allowing us to concentrate on funding for young people, equipment
replacement and refits.
Having sailed with Spirit I have seen at first
hand the difference it can make to young people from across the UK
- Barry Fisher, Acting Award
Director, Duke of Edinburgh Award, Scotland
I have nothing but admiration for the
dedication and hard work the staff put in. They are always positive
and enthusiastic and this rubs off, not only the young people, but
on everyone they meet.
- Steve Clifford, Bibby International