Wright of Passage
The donation in January 2018, of this 53ft Herreshoff timber yacht, in need of restoration, the venue by the Oatley Family at Woolwich Dock has provided our charity Sailors with disABILITIES (SWD) the bones of this innovative Wright of Passage Project (WOP).
The project enables young people between 16-25 years who may be challenged by their disability, geographic or social disadvantage to join the free program.
Participants have had difficulty achieving outcomes in the mainstream education system and these cover a range of issues, including social dislocation, severe dyslexia, ADD, behavioural problems, cerebral palsy & diabetes.
WOP is unique youth project for those seeking an alternate pathway to learning in a hands on way, while opening doors for the future. It has operated solely through philanthropy & in kind donations from Norglass, Anagote timber to name a few, with a rolling program of participants. The inclusive program has been designed to provide young people from across the Sydney region with low employment prospects a wide range of skills. Our participants are supported by skilled mentors that can allow progression into various trade apprenticeships & employment in the marine & allied industries, by learning about tools, shipwright, carpentry, electronics, engine mechanics & general boat maintenance.
We believe this positive program environment also brings about life changing opportunities for personal growth, resilience, team building & newfound confidence. Three days a week are spent in facilitated on-site learning at Woolwich Dock while restoring the vessel, & one day per week with SWD participating in on water programs being the mentors to children with disabilities. WOP Mercator has been stripped bare her main mast rebuilt due to significant rot, her mizzen mast splined and glued, the hull completely refastened, some sister frames installed, and epoxy sheaved from the water line down. Being impacted by rot has required significant rebuilding of super structure. Engine room rationalization and accommodation modified for Sailors with disABILITIES purpose.
The ultimate aim is to sail THEIR Wright of Passage Mercator to Hobart and proudly display their achievements at the Australian Wooden Boat Festival.
Successful outcomes to date (June) from the first intake has already provided 4 young people employment and/or trainee-ships in the industry.
The Project can be seen here https://www.facebook.com/7newssydney/videos/2118375768186545/ young people.
History of the ketch “ what we know is the owner builder was tuna fisherman in Sidney Vancouver British Columbia SWD is the 4th owner She has done 4 crossings of the Pacific to Hong Kong by original owner then Hong Hong to NZ x 2 , then Thailand to Sydney 2001, 2002″