Training Ship Royalist
Built by Groves and Guttridge at Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, to a design by Colin Mudie, the Sea Cadet Corps' Brig was named Training Ship Royalist, by HRH the Princess Anne, on 3rd August 1971. Twenty one years later, Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, attended the re-dedication of the ship, following an extensive mid-life refit at the Berthon Boat Company's yard at Lymington
Royalist is owned and operated by the Sea Cadet Association, which is the parent charity of the Sea Cadet Corps. She is partially supported financially by a grant from the Ministry Of Defence, since the Royal Navy recognises the Sea Cadet Corps as one of its officially sponsored youth movements. However, the expenses of running the ship fall largely on the Sea Cadet Association itself, which, by generous subsidy, enables each cadet onboard to sail for about a third of the true cost. During an average year, Royalist provides around 800 cadet berths.
Each week, 24 members of the Sea Cadet Corps, aged between 13½ and 18, or members of the other uniformed youth organisations, plus three adult 'volunteers', set sail in Royalist to undertake Sea Cadet training. The cadet crew are divided into four watches and each 'learns the ropes' at his or her 'part of ship'. Their work onboard is guided and supervised by the six permanent crew. The Captain and his Sailing Master are both Merchant Navy Officers, as is the Engineer, although they each hold an honorary rank in the Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) as Sea Cadet (SCC) Officers. The ship's Boatswain looks after the rigging and other deck gear, while the Coxswain is responsible for Royalist's routine and cadet discipline, meanwhile, the hungry youngster's stomachs are ably catered for by the Cook. All of them have an important part to play in the cadet training programme. On joining Royalist, each cadet is allocated a bunk and a small clothes locker. Foul weather gear and a safety harness are provided from ship's stores. There are separate bathroom facilities for boys and girls, and of the adults embarked, at least one is always female.
Royalist is 29 metres long, of steel construction, and rigged as a brig, meaning she has two masts, with square sails on each, each of her aluminium masts is 23 metres high.
Her six yards and spanker gaff are also made from aluminium. When underway, she sets 435 square metres of sail, a jib and fore staysail, fore and main topgallants, fore and main topsails, fore course, main course, main staysail, spanker and spanker topsail. To set the square sails, cadet crew- members climb the masts and lay out on the yards in the approved manner, securely clipped on with safety harnesses. Once the sails have been released from their stows, they can be handled from the deck, using the many halyards, sheets and braces, clewlines, buntlines and leechlines, belayed on pin-rails at the foot of each mast.
Royalist is equipped to a very high standard, meeting all the appropriate statutory requirements for life-saving appliances and other safety equipment. She has modern communications equipment and navigation aids and twin diesel engines giving her a speed of up to 9 knots.
To have 33 people living and working harmoniously, in such a small vessel requires a personal contribution from everyone onboard, from the Captain to the youngest cadet. To work the sails and drive the ship along demands some physical effort from each member of the crew. More importantly, it demands a high level of team-work.
The sea itself can always be a hard task-master, when bad weather makes working on deck difficult, and living below decks uncomfortable. It can often be a great personal challenge to conquer, or at least to put up with, the consequences of being wet and cold, and perhaps sea-sick. The environment onboard is not competitive, but it is the best possible stimulus for self-development.
Where is TS ROYALIST?
TS ROYALIST is operated by Sea Cadets Offshore.
The Offshore Commander is responsible for all SCC Offshore Operations. The post is presently held by Commander Barry Mattey, Royal Navy. Situated at the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour, the contact address is:-
The Offshore Commander's Office
Sea Cadets Offshore
Tel/Fax: 02392 527224
As well as operating TS Royalist, SCC Offshore operate three sail training yachts, TS City Liveryman, TS Vigilant (both Tradewind 35s) and TS Leopold Müller.