James Cook mid-life refit

James Cook was designed specifically for the Ocean Youth Club for the purpose of Sail Training.  She was built in the Hawthorn Leslie yard in Hebburn by apprentices from AMARC (Training, Education and Safety) Ltd. which was a registered charity associated with British Shipbuilders.  She was launched into the River Tyne in 1987.

The yacht was acquired by Ocean Youth Trust North in 2000 when the charity was first established.  She has now completed over 30 years of Sail Training.  During this time, James Cook has taken an estimated 10,000 young people to sea on an ‘Adventure under Sail’ changing their lives and building their futures.



The board of Trustees have been concerned about securing the future provision of Sail Training for Young People in the north of England and sought to determine if the yacht could remain fit for purpose over the next 20 years or whether plans should be made for her replacement.

James Cook is unique in her design and experience of chartering other vessels has shown that it is difficult to find another vessel which meets the trust’s needs so well.  Replacing James Cook would probably necessitate the building of a new vessel.

It was anticipated that work would be needed on the deck coating and that the steel hull would require shot blasting back to bare metal and repainting with a more modern long lasting paint system.  Fundraising went ahead on this basis and by [October 2018] a total of £71,125 was raised.

It was agreed that the vessel should go into Fox’s Boatyard, Ipswich at the end of the sailing season but that the masts and hull should be professionally surveyed before any work was undertaken.  The purpose and scope of the examination was to establish the structural and material condition of the yacht’s masts, hull and keel (and in particular the remaining thickness of their steel plating) in order to determine whether her condition (or repaired condition) would justify expenditure aimed at prolonging her life for a further 20 years.

The surveyor’s report was discussed at a trustees meeting held in December 2017, when it was noted that the vessel was, in general, structurally sound however some remedial work on the underwater section of the hull was required.  It was agreed that this work, along with other essential items, should be completed immediately while the replacement of the deck coating which was less safety critical should be held over for a future refit.  Work stated urgently in order that the yacht should be back in the water ready to undertake forward bookings.

Work completed

Hull and mast survey                              Replace in mast electrical cables                             Replace capping rail

Fit new rubbing strake                            Stainless steel stanchions and guard rails               New stainless steel pushpit

New 24v fridge                                       Re-plating and stringers                                           Through hull spigots and flanges

Anchor bow roller                                   Gas locker/Gas system                                             Fuel and water tanks

Repaint hull                                            Refurbish ships compass                                          New mooring bollard 

Annual maintenance – engine and generator service, replace anodes, Prop shaft bearings

The final cost of the refit was £110,949 not including Ocean Youth Trust staff and travel costs.  The difference between funds raised and the final cost was paid out of reserves.  

If you would like to see before and after photos please look here


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