Two Norfolk youth workers went full circle when they took part in a sail training expedition together.

In 1999 community police officer, Mike Blakey, took a group of Norfolk school boys sailing with the sail training charity, The Norfolk Boat.  One of the boys, Michael Sturman, was so inspired by the voyage and by Mike’s leadership that he became a youth worker himself and 13 years later he organised a similar trip with a group from children’s home, Avocet House near Hales. Michael made sure that his former mentor, Mike, was able to accompany the group.

“There was never any doubt who I would ask to go with me on my first sailing trip as group leader” said Michael Sturman.

Mike Blakey said,   “I was very pleased with the way Michael conducted himself and how well he managed the whole occasion. In fact he performed incredibly well throughout the whole of the planning and management of the voyage. It was a bit of a landmark for me to see his progression from being a 14 year old participant to becoming a responsible and professional leader managing a group of challenging young people. Maybe I am now redundant but, as we often say of Norfolk Boat; “that’s what it’s all about!”

Sending three boys sailing on the North Sea for a week was a first for Avocet House but part of their ‘no limits’ approach to the education and personal development of their young people. All young sailors are apprehensive on their first voyage but for James, Robbie and Norman more so as it was a significant step outside their comfort zones. The results, however, were amazing with each of the boys gaining high levels of confidence and trust and each taking home an RYA certificate as evidence of their new found skills. Also accompanying the boys was youth worker, Chloe Hazell.

Norman summed up his experience by saying, “I enjoyed being alongside the crew and feeling wanted at last. … even though I found it tough at times, I gritted my teeth and fought through to the end.”



The Norfolk Boat celebrates 30 years of giving young people from Norfolk the opportunity to enjoy the challenge and fun of an adventure at sea.

During the last sailing season The Norfolk Boat has enabled the following groups to sail:

  • NACRO, the crime reduction charity, sent 16 young people from the west of the area sailing with the Cirdan Trust for five days in April;
  • Worlingham Middle School sent a group of 12 in May;
  • Open Academy from Norwich also sailed in May with 12 people participating;
  • 13 students from Sewell Park College, Norwich, sailed in June;
  • Flagship Foyer group of 13 from North Norfolk sailed in June;
  • A group of 15 set sail from Eaton Hall School, Norwich for seven days in June;
  • ASD Helping Hands took 14 from Thetford sailing for five days in July;
  • Six Explorer scouts from the west of the area sailed with Adventures Offshore in August;
  • Two air cadets sailed off the west coast of Scotland with Ocean Youth Trust in August;
  • Avocet House in Hales took a group of six young people sailing for a week in September;
  • Seven from the Norwich International Youth Project sailed in October with Cirdan;
  • A group of nine from Stalham Flagship Foyer sailed for a weekend in October.

The Norfolk Boat’s motto is ‘to inspire and develop the spirit of Norfolk youth’ and the charity looks forward to helping many more young people sail in the future.

Good luck to Grace and her team from OYT North

Good luck to Grace Metcalfe, the Skipper of James Cook of Ocean Youth Trust North, and friends, who are taking up the challenge of cycling coast to coast from Whitehaven to Tynemouth, a 140 mile adventure in under three days. They are raising money for OYT North which helps young people, irrespective of their background, escape the difficulties they face at home. They acquire a range of life skills whilst working as part of a team and rising to the challenge of the sea. OYT North offers young people an experience that changes their lives and inspires their futures. The Norfolk Boat supports young people from Norfolk who sail in James Cook.

Two Norfolk Air Cadets, Alice Cater and Harley Crisp, are off to the North West of Scotland to sail with Ocean Youth Trust Scotland for seven days this week.

“Where next, Skipper?”

Adventures Offshore are hosting six young Explorer scouts from the Fens. They are taking part in the Tall Ships Race between the 12thand 19thAugust.



Welcome to the new look website

Welcome to our new look website, which embraces new media, such as this blog, and links to both our Facebook page and Twitter feed, which you can also follow in the panel on the right.

If you have already sailed with us and you want to share your stories or photos please get in touch and we may feature them in the blog or put them on our Facebook page. Your experiences might inspire someone else to try offshore sailing.

So far this season a NACRO group of 16 young people from the west of our area sailed in April for five days; 12 young people from Worlingham Middle School sailed for a week in May; and Open Academy in Norwich took a group of 12 for a five day sail in May. We are looking forward to showing you their photos on this blog.

Bon Voyage to the group of 13 from North Norfolk’s Flagship Foyer who set sail today with the Cirdan Trust.