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Tectona - Our Journey

2003. Having worked with Stuart Plant in Portsmouth, now planning to set up Sail Training opportunities for people with mental health & rehab problems nearer home in the south west. Mother Ship required.

September 2007. TECTONA discovered languishing near Marseilles. Decided to try and buy her and get her back to Devon.

December 2007. Offer accepted.

Jan - April 2008. Frantic refit to get her ready for sea, including having the deck sheathed in plywood.

May 2008. Arrived off Plymouth after 1900-mile voyage from the Mediterranean via the Bay of Biscay. 3 weeks, 2 of which at sea.

Summer 2008. New deck being fitted at Toms Yard in Polruan. October; berthed in Southdown for major refit to continue. Hull and structure given good report by Surveyor.

Winter / Spring 2009. Working against the clock to complete refit and achieve certification for sail training use. Masts out for refurbishment, zillion other things.

March 2009. Trials with Dominic Bridgman (Cremyll Sailing). Tectona sails again!

June 2009. MCA Coding achieved. Partnership with Cremyll Sailing now supported by charter agreement, for "One peppercorn if demanded."

July 2009. First sail training trip a great success.

September 2009. Despite only-to-be-expected teething problems, first Rehab Trip with clients from Phoenix Alpha residential rehab unit in Southampton. Excellent feedback and re-booked fro 2010. See rehab voyage report.

November 2009. Rob Shaw appointed skipper. Winter refit begins.

March 2010. First trip of new season, Rob + Emma + Jim. Somerset trainees on board with excellent feedback.

Summer 2010. Research project agreed with Plymouth University. Tectona achieving first class outcomes with a variety of clients over the season.

Winter 2010-2011. Tucked up in her mudberth at Southdown, Tectona receives all the TLC she needs for next season thanks to Rob, Jim, and Ryan - newly appointed 2nd Mate and a qualified boatbuilder!

March 2011. Back to the fray! Looking better than ever in her new coats of paint, now operating in partnership with "Island Cremyll".

Summer and Autumn 2011. The season went well with Rob as skipper. Island Cremyll changed into Island Cutter Ltd, the operational arm of The Island Trust. In the November suddenly our contract was terminated, and although we were re-assured that it would be renewed with the new company, this only finally happened several very anxious weeks later. As a result the winter refit was not the focus of attention it should have been; no-one's fault, just "the situation". Conall takes over as skipper.

Summer 2012. We are now intensely planning the 2012 Voyage Of Recovery. This is due to take place from the start of August for 12 weeks. Much to do - ports of call; which Phoenix units take part; assuring abstinence; food for each voyage; how to have a promo day in Glasgow and again in London… Stu and Darren move heaven and earth, and get it all to happen. The VOR gets under way and can be read about here: Voyage of Recovery 2012 - The Big One!

On Wednesday 24th October, Tectona arrives back in Plymouth and hosts a party alongside the Barbican pontoon, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Plymouth University.

Winter 2012. In no time she's back in the mudberth at Southdown and refitting is getting going once again.

Summer 2013. Another season under way, with Conall well settled in as skipper, and Darren as First Mate. All is well until early August when the main engine loses oil pressure, luckily not far from her mooring. The next week's crew are transferred to a charter yacht and the Baudouin has to be fixed. It turns out to be the oil pump, requiring the engine to be hoisted off its bearers for access. A call to France to ask about a replacement - "We may 'ave one, but the factory is closed for 'olidays until the end of the mernth…" Luckily a company in the midlands can re-build our pump, and Tectona is back in action after a week. The year concludes with 5 excellent Recovery weeks, one of which includes Plymouth Medical Students for the first time.

Winter 2013. Despite the violent weather, Tectona emerges spanking with new paint, nearly all of the jobs have been done and Conall has project-managed an excellent refit.

Summer 2014. Some 24 weeks of Island Trust voyages for young people, and 6 Phoenix weeks, one of which again hosts 2 Medics. A week's voyage for Plymouth University students at the end of May is the first such for 34 years!

Winter 2014-15 This may be our last winter in Southdown because The Island Trust has relocated to Mount Batten. The (relatively) benign winter also turns out to be Conall's last as our skipper, and as a result of his hard work and that of Becca (1st Mate) and Dan (2nd Mate) Tectona is looking smart and well serviced by the middle of February when we get her alongside at Mashfords for antifouling. The hull looks as good as ever, anodes will last another season, and we duly carry out annual checks to seacocks and sterngear.

Summer 2015 Tectona is back at sea by the end of March having had a couple of very enjoyable Day Sails with friends and Benefactors. We are saddened but not totally surprised when Skipper Conall announces he is moving on - we know he is someone who needs to press the refresh button on life's challenges! We are delighted when Ben Williams agrees to become our new Skipper. By April Tectona is just about fully booked for the season…

Winter 2015-2016. Ben (despite still being a student with the Marine Faculty at Plymouth University) contributes to a very solid refit including the massive task of re-caulking the main deck which has been gradually starting to leak over the last 5 years and is now a big problem. We are lucky to have Jim to carry out the work, with willing help from all the Island Trust sea staff and under the watchful eye of Tom the Ops Manager.

Tectona remains alongside at Plymouth Yacht Haven and is cocooned in white shrink-wrap plastic. This proves not quite up to the horrendous winter of gales that soon begins. It seems almost daily repairs are needed, and with especially foul weather over Christmas the structure of plastic tubes holding the plastic sheet up begins to collapse…

However, despite an area having to be re-caulked because the cover leaked, we eventually get through the job thanks in no small part to Jim's commitment and resolve.

In February an unexpected piece of news - Phoenix Futures, with whom we have partnered for several years on the Recovery Voyages has suffered a financial downturn and can no longer fund voyages on Tectona. A bitter blow, especially with the excellent work we have done together (especially with Stu) since the early 2000's. The focus now turns to recruiting and fundraising with Plymouth service-users.

Summer 2016. Thanks to Tectona Trust's generous donors, we succeed in carrying out 2 Recovery voyages in September. Recruitment is through the Plymouth rehab services, and late in summer we 'discover' the Shekinah Mission - a wonderful Plymouth charity which shares our objectives for Recovery people. Without their support we would not have 'recovered' ourselves from parting with Phoenix!

Tectona has a very successful season with the Island Trust, being well booked up and hugely appreciated by all who sail in her.

Winter 2016-2017. We are lucky to get a new mudberth in Southdown Marina, where she was berthed for the first few winters of our ownership. Ben, whose own boat is also there, takes on a major refit list including replacing the old (rusty mild steel) fuel tank with 2 new stainless ones. Not a simple operation, given that the galley has to be dismantled to get to it, and this includes removing a bulkhead which turns out to have asbestos sheeting as fire protection, probably dating from the 1960's. Luckily it is the least toxic kind, so removal and disposal (with the right precautions) is soon achieved. Multiple other tasks are done including overdue repairs to the capping rail; renewing the top-mast and some standing rigging, and dismantling and reconditioning the anchor windlass.

Summer 2017. In full swing, Tectona is fully booked for Island Trust voyages, and we are working towards 3 Recovery weeks in September, massively helped by Shekinah.

More anon…