*Updated* Statement regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

As COVID-19 (Coronavirus) turns normality upside down, we are aware that this can be unsettling for everyone so we want to let you know what is happening at Challenge Wales HQ.

UPDATE 23rd June 2020: Challenge Wales has now made the decision to postpone voyages up until mid August 2020 and will continue to review the situation. Over the next couple of weeks we will be in touch with all those that this now effects. We continue to monitor the situation as restrictions in Wales and the UK begin to ease in July.


UPDATE 4th May 2020: Challenge Wales has made the decision to postpone voyages up until 30th June 2020 and will continue to review the situation on an ongoing basis. We aim to be in touch with everyone regarding future voyages, two months prior to the voyage taking place to update on the changing situation.

UPDATE 24th March 2020: Following on from the previous announcement and yesterday’s Government announcement regarding limiting gatherings and staying at home, Challenge Wales has made the decision to postpone voyages up until 31st May 2020. We will be in touch with everyone affected by this over the next 24 hours and will continue to review the situation on an ongoing basis.

UPDATE 18th March 2020: Following the change in the UK Government’s advice regarding non-essential social contact (social distancing) and unnecessary travel, the Trustees of Challenge Wales have taken the difficult, but necessary, decision to suspend our sail training operations, effective immediately until 18 April 2020 and review the situation on a fortnightly basis there on, with the aim of rescheduling  these trips to a later date.  We will be monitoring very closely Government advice and Public Health Wales advice on a daily basis and over the coming days continue to make decisions regarding our sail training programme for April, May and June.

As you can imagine this is unprecedented times for the world and us as a small charity.

We want to reassure you that our priority is always the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved with the charity; our voyage crew (guests), volunteers, staff and their families.

If you are booked on a voyage during this period (Up until 18th April 2020), you will be contacted by the office this week if you haven’t already been. We would ask that you please don’t contact us regarding future voyages until Friday 27th March 2020 to enable us to speak to all voyage crew and volunteers who are currently affected by this. Moving forwards, we will be in touch regarding later voyages when decisions are made and when the time arises.

Challenge Wales is extremely proud of the reputation we have developed and our relationships we have with volunteers, stakeholders, clients, funders and supporters who have helped us get to where we are today. We are now working in a fast-moving environment that is out of our control but decisions made will be made in the best interests of our stakeholders and we will keep everyone updated as things change.  It will no doubt be a rocky road ahead for many organisations (large and small), individuals and families and we will be extremely grateful to those who are able to offer support to us. If you think there is something you can do for us at this time then please get in touch.

Please continue to monitor the News Page on our website and our social media channels (@ChallengeWales) for updates.

More information about COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and the symptoms can be found here on the NHS 111 Online website.

We look forward to getting back to normality, whenever that will be, and continue to change lives in a positive way.

The Challenge Wales Trustees

College students sailing on Challenge Wales

First voyage of 2020

The first week of March brought the first residential voyage of the season as there was a welcome gap in the winter storms.

Volunteers had pulled out all the stops to make sure that Challenge Wales was ready for her first residential of the year making sure she was ship shape and fully stored. A 7 day voyage with college students where they would be learning about sailing, teamwork, leadership, exploring the local geography and understanding about the environment.

Students learning navigation on Challenge Wales

At the end of the voyage you wouldn’t have believed that the students had joined not knowing each other and with little to no sailing experience!

But that is what sail training is all about. Our classroom doesn’t have four walls and anything can happen on one of our residentials….and it certainly did.

We managed to spot seals at the magical Lundy Island as we stepped ashore there, we had sing songs in the saloon as the Challenge Wales guitar made a guest appearance, we had mugs of hot chocolate on deck to warm ourselves up, we saw friendships develop and conversations had as the digital detox started.

In addition, the young people were learning teamwork skills, exploring the natural world, leading teams, building confidence while having fun.

The voyage took students from Cardiff to Swansea, to Lundy Island and then onto Neyland in West Wales (thanks Neyland Marina for being so welcoming as usual), an anchorage at Tenby and then back up to Cardiff Bay.

It’s always sad saying goodbye to students as they depart the boat. The laughter, joking, hustle and bustle of the week starts to die down as the voyage comes to an end. Volunteers reflected on how well the young people had raised to the challenge of learning in a unique environment, achieved their personal & group goals, had seen characters grow and developed personally during the time.

Until the next time…….