About the SHTP Project: This Shipshape Heritage Training Partnership (SHTP) project is managed by NHS-UK and funded by a £261,100 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund Skills for the Future programme. It provides ten 12-month training placements at five partner sites offering on-board specialist training to ensure the significance of the various historic vessels and the ability to operate them safely and effectively is kept alive. The trainees will also undertake a tailored course in historic vessel maintenance at the International Boatbuilding Training College and an interpretation placement at the Scottish Fisheries Museum. A skills mapping exercise will provide template training models for the wider sector and an assessment framework for seamanship skills will be developed as a project legacy.


Shipshape Solent hosts one of the five partner organisations in the form of Dauntsey’s School Sailing Club. Devizes/Hamble.  Jolie Brise is owned, maintained and sailed by the pupils of Dauntsey's School and is a world famous, gaff-rigged pilot cutter, the last boat to carry the Royal Mail under sail and has won the Fastnet Race three times. http://www.dauntseys.org/adventure/jolie-brise.  Whilst on board Jolie Brise, the trainees will undertake the following:

  • Learn traditional seamanship and deck work on board a gaff-rigged vessel including: handling the rig safely and setting sails for optimum performance; understanding the physics of the rig; boatwork; steering; ropework; and safety on traditional vessels
  • Undertake specialist maintenance tasks on board Jolie Brise such as rigging repairs, ropework, painting, varnishing, basic sail repairs or joinery, engine maintenance etc
  • Evening and weekend sailing with members of the local Old Gaffers Association
  • Work with pupils in the Sailing Club during Spring, Summer and half term holidays helping to train them in basic deckwork and team skills
  • Work with charter parties or pupils from other schools, particularly Mercers’ Academies, for the remainder of the season, welcoming them onboard and introducing them to safety and vessel handling procedures.

December 2014: Update

This month, Fergus went to Scotland to complete the conservation placement at the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther.  He was introduced to the museum collection and the education and presentation policies there.  Fergus was asked to do his own interpretation of the Zulu gallery which became his favourite part of the Museum.  The trainees learned about other museums in Scotland and funding opportunities, and also went on a site visit each week to other historic vessels in the region.  Whilst at the Museum, they had a chance to see specialist rigger Nigel Grey at work doing cable splicing.


November 2014: Update

Back in Lowestoft for the winter maintenance course, Fergus moved on board 'Excelsior' with the other SHTP trainees.  The first week was spent doing specialist courses at the Southwold Sea Training Centre. It involved practical exercises like driving a high power RIB at sea, practising first aid and a short course in navigation.  The second week at IBTC the trainees learned about making spars and spar shoulders.  A visit was paid to the Wherry fleet moored in Wroxham to look at their design features.  The trainees also had a short introduction to wood turning to enable them to make Swedish fids for rigging and ropework.  On the last day, they visited the Traditional Boating Suppliers in Beccles to buy some specialist tools.


October 2014: Update

The fourth form trips continued until the middle of the month.  Fergus was given the chance to act as mate on some of the trips and also asked to direct the anchoring on one occasion.  At the end of the month, Fergus helped the first mate begin work on the winter maintenance before going to Lowestoft for the next phase of the IBTC maintenance course.


September 2014: Update

Fergus was given the task this month of exploring new fairlead designs for Jolie Brise's anchor chain.  He studied the designs on other historic vessels at the Tall Ships Festival to help inform the work.  The rest of the month was spent doing day trips for the fourth form in the Solent.  This entails helping them prepare a meal in the galley and spend a night on board, followed by a short passage somewhere local.


August 2014: Update

This month saw Fergus set off across the Bay of Biscay on 'Jolie Brise' heading to the Azores.  The return trip was via Spain and France, arriving back in Falmouth in time for the Tall Ships festivities after a foggy Channel crossing.


June 2014: Update

Whilst still on placement with Trinity, Fergus was given the role of Bosun onboard 'Provident'.  A lot bigger in size than his host vesesl Jolie Brise and with a different rig, this gave him the chance to learn some new skills. He led his first night watch and experienced a full 24 hour period of 3 hour watch rotations.  He then moved on to his second placement, this time with the Excelsior Sailing Trust.  He undertook some vesesl maintenance including learning how to tie the main sail to the mast hoops. Back at Jolie Brise, he helped organise the annual Life Skills Course for Dauntseys School and also did some sailing trips which included seeing the windlass in action.


May 2014: Update

This month Fergus went on rotation to experience some of the other partner vessels within the SHTP scheme.  His first placement was with the Trinity Sailing Foundation and saw him undertaking maintenance work on 'Golden Vanity', helping to dry her out, prepare the hull and anti-foul.  He also learnt about the ethos and set-up of Trinity as an organisation.


February 2014: Update

Fergus Taylor was appointed as the trainee for SHTP Solent.  His interest in historic vessels stemmed from a school visit to the 'Cutty Sark', followed by trips to various maritime museums.  He completed a Day Skipper course in the Solent and a Duke of Edinbugh Award on board 'John Laing' sailing to the Channel Islands.  He subsequently worked as a sailing dinghy instructor and also volunteered for Tideway Sailability at East Surrey Docks.  His most recent employment was as a Kids Watersports Instructor for Sunsail in Greece.


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