Young people winching onboard Challenge Wales yacht

Boat Camp Is Back

Following the success of our first Boat Camp in 2021, we’ve launched another date for Boat Camp for those that are a little bit older aged 16 -25 years.

Although most young people jump on Challenge Wales or Adventure Wales boats as part of a group, we know that being part of a group isn’t possible for everyone and that was when Boat Camp was realised.

The next Boat Camp is Thursday 14th April and is a full day on the sail training vessel Adventure Wales. No sailing experience is required to take part and all waterproofs and equipment is provided.

Those onboard might be interested in trying something new, improving their social skills or learning new activities as part of a team. The day voyage is great for those looking to put something on their CV and highlight those important soft skills, while others are looking to just have a day on the water with like-minded people. The activities onboard help people understand more about ocean literacy, are evidenced to improve mental health and wellbeing and give young people an opportunity to learn more about having a career at sea and future opportunities. Our experienced crew will be there to help everyone get the most out of the day and support them.

The full cost for the day is £95 but a guaranteed bursary is available to reduce the cost to £50. Should a participant require further financial assistance then an additional bursary of £20 is available which reduces the full cost to just £30. Fundraising has made the bursary possible, but if someone doesn’t require a bursary then they can pay what they can afford (between £30 and £95) and the bursary not utilised will go towards helping someone else to come onboard.

To book a place, please email the Challenge Wales office or call 029 20 704657.

Download the Boat Camp poster here!

Image of Challenge Wales and Adventure Wales and young people

We’re Recruiting | New Year, New Job, New Adventures!

Set sail on a different course in 2022. We’ve got exciting roles that will take you to sea but also keep you on land, from marketing to Skippering.

Our amazing team of volunteers, staff and Trustees put young people first and love the thought that adventures at sea, and on our sail training vessels, can turn lives around and broaden horizons.

We’re now looking to grow the team in 2022 and we are excited to be recruiting for;

* Skipper – not just someone who can sail our vessels but also someone who can manage the maintenance. Leading and inspiring others, this is a full time role for the 2022 season.
* Mate / Relief Skipper – Predominantly a Mate role but stepping up to Skipper to cover leave rota’s. Working with young people and managing the deck this will be a fun, hands-on role for the 2022 season.
* Social Media Marketing Assistant – Supported by the Government’s Kickstart programme this is a 6 month placement. Perfect for gaining solid social media experience and bolstering a CV. If you know your Tik Toks from your Insta then come and jump onboard and help us share our story.
* Volunteer Co-ordinator Assistant – Volunteers are the backbone of Challenge Wales and this role is about making volunteering easy and rewarding for everyone. Perfect for gaining admin experience this is a 6 month placement supported by the Government’s Kickstart programme.

Visit the Jobs page to find our more about these roles and how to apply. Set sail on your new adventure today.

Welsh Charities Week 2021

Welsh Charities Week is taking place between 15th – 19th November 2021 and is the opportunity to shine a light on the amazing work that Welsh Charities and their volunteers do across Wales.

Challenge Wales has worked with a diverse range of organisations and individuals, not just in Wales but throughout the UK and overseas, and all of this is delivered with the help of our amazing team of volunteers onboard our sail training vessels; Challenge Wales | Wales Tall Ship and Adventure Wales.

Supported by ITV Cymru Wales and hosted by the WCVA (Welsh Council for Voluntary Action) this is a great opportunity for Challenge Wales to shout about its innovative youth work which takes people to sea.

Activities onboard Challenge Wales’ vessels help young people learn essential life skills, broaden their horizons, improves mental health and helps people understand about sustainability in a hands-on way. The award-winning charity offers an accredited learning programme onboard the largest sailing boat in Wales and although South Wales is the home port for Challenge Wales and Adventure Wales, activities take them to West Wales, North Wales, Ireland, Scotland, England and overseas.

Read more about the impact of Challenge Wales sail training activities on young people.

Young people hoisting a sail on a tall ship

Boat Camp: Half Term Adventures for 14 – 18 year olds

Join us this October Half Term for a day of adventure and fun with Challenge Wales.

Boat Camp is a day voyage for 14 – 18 year olds that will start and finish in Penarth, near Cardiff Bay, and take place on one of our sailing boats on Thursday 28th October 2021.

Onboard you will meet new people, make new friends, take part in teamwork activities, build confidence while having lots of fun.

No sailing experience is needed to take part and all equipment and waterproofs are provided. This day is suitable for individuals to join us, homeschoolers and those looking to do something very different this Half Term holiday.

A bursary is available to subsidise the activity. Cost per person is £50 (which includes a £45 bursary) and the day will start around 9.30am and finish around 4.30pm.

To book or for more information, email the Challenge Wales office.
You can also call 029 20 704 657.

Picture of young person on the helm of sailing yacht Challenge Wales

Free Drop-In Event in Cardiff Bay

Join Challenge Wales and other activity providers at a free drop-in event, 3pm – 7pm on Tuesday 7th September at Cardiff Bay Yacht Club.

The event is open to young people, teachers, group leaders and community groups to highlight the sailing opportunities that are available in Cardiff Bay.

The aim of the event is to get more young people on the water and as well as being able to jump onboard for a free tour of Challenge Wales, there are other opportunities to have a taster sail on the bay with the teams from Cardiff Watersports Centre and Cardiff Bay Yacht Club.

There is also the opportunity to speak to the Challenge Wales Team and other watersports providers to learn how sailing helps with young people’s mental health, develops their life-skills to help their confidence and employability prospects, how sailing links in with STEM learning and how to get started in sailing.

Whether you have an hour free to have a go or just 10 minutes to drop in and learn more, the Challenge Wales Team would love to see you as well as the other partners supporting the event.

This event is being supported by RYA Cymru Wales (The National Governing Body of sailing in Wales), All-Afloat (The leading Welsh charity supporting opportunities to get young people into sailing), Cardiff Bay Yacht Club (who are hosting the event and providing taster sailing sessions), Cardiff Watersports Centre (owned by Cardiff Harbour Authority and deliver boating opportunities in the Bay) as well as Challenge Wales (who provide accredited learning and life-skills development opportunities as well as volunteering, sailing and adventures at sea).

The free event is being held at Cardiff Bay Yacht Club, Ferry Road, Cardiff, CF11 0JL. Free parking is available. Although you don’t need to register, if you do plan on attending it is helpful if you let us know you are coming by emailing Phil.tilley@All-afloat.wales

Run For Us In The Virtual London Marathon

Are you ready to take on the virtual Virgin Money London Marathon for #TeamChallengeWales and by doing so support more young people to participate in our life-changing youth development programme?

The London Marathon is one of the most iconic running events in the world and now it’s your turn to be part of its history.

When: Sunday 3rd October 2021
Where: Anywhere
Start / Finish of event: 00:00hrs – 23:59:59hrs (BST)

This year the Virgin Money London Marathon is set to be the world’s largest marathon with 100,000 participants. 50,000 taking part on the streets of London (in the traditional London Marathon from Blackheath to the Mall) and 50,000 taking part around the world in the virtual London Marathon.

You can join us on the course of your choice; round your neighbourhood, through Cardiff, Plymouth or Aberdeen, it’s your choice, it’s your course. You will have almost 24 hours to run, walk or jog the 26.2 miles which makes the virtual Virgin London Marathon really achievable for all abilities.

Registration Fee: £20
Sponsorship Pledge: £200

The Sponsorship Pledge is the minimum amount of sponsorship (not including Gift Aid) we would like our virtual London Marathon runners, joggers and walkers to aim to achieve although it can be more than this.

To help you achieve the distance, the London Marathon app will help you bring the virtual experience to life, with an exclusive audio commentary featuring famous voices!

How to sign up and be part of #TeamChallengeWales
If you would like to join #TeamChallengeWales and be part of the Virtual London Marathon then please APPLY HERE.
We will then be in touch to advise how to pay your registration fee and then we will help you set up your fundraising page for donations. Please note we have 5 virtual places for the 2021 London Marathon and runners need to be registered by 16:00hrs 16th July 2021
We will then promote your fundraising page on our social media channels and website to help you raise even more! It’s that simple.

If you would like to speak to us about a virtual place then please email the office.

If you’ve got your own place in the Virgin Money London Marathon why not run for Challenge Wales?

How money raised will help disadvantaged young people?
Challenge Wales is a predominantly volunteer-run charity that works with disadvantage young people enabling them to develop their life skills to improve their potential and prospects in life. Our activities at sea onboard our two sail training vessels develop teamwork skills, communication skills, improve self-confidence and improve mental health. Skills that are necessary to help young people move into work, education or training. Your donations and sponsorship will enable Challenge Wales to continue its programme of voyages and work with more young people who need focus and direction and opportunities to help them to succeed. To find out more, why not read some of our case studies.

It’s a big THANK YOU to our amazing volunteers

The first week of June is Volunteers’ Week enabling us to say a big thank you to all those who help Challenge Wales and support young people

Our amazing volunteers make our voyages possible, they work with young people, they help with maintenance, they do the shopping ready for a voyage, they do DBS checks, they show people around the boat on open boat days, they spend days at sea helping young people leave their comfort zone, they sometimes get sea sick….and sometimes they don’t, they do fundraising, they support fundraising activities, they do cleaning to ensure the boat is spick and span, they are positive role models, they provide supportive words and encouragement to young people and are passionate about helping others. This is why we want to say thank you!

Volunteers Week Logo in Welsh

Challenge Wales is the award-winning charity that it is today because of our volunteers. The young people we work with have missed out on outdoor learning because of Covid, but our volunteers have missed out too.

Volunteering provides a way of giving back, a way of socialising and meeting new people, making new friends, learning new skills or improving current ones. It’s great for your well-being. And, volunteering can improve self-confidence and make you feel good, or even great about yourself.

So thank you again and we can’t wait to welcome back all our volunteers onto our vessels and back into the fold again.

If you are interested in being part of our volunteer team and enabling young people to broaden their horizons and develop to their potential then why not sign up to become a volunteer today and find out more.

World Sailing RYA and Steering the Course logo

World Sailing Global Women’s Sailing Festival Features Challenge Wales Trustee

The #SteeringThe Course festival is focussing on inspirational women participating in sailing, whether it is on the water, or off, but who are playing their part in getting people involved in sailing.

Vicky Williams, part of the Challenge Wales team

Vicky shares her story with World Sailing/RYA Cymru;

“I came from a non-sporty, non-sailing family and was introduced into sailing by a friend in my late teens, who I sailed for fun with on a few occassions. At that time I was actively competing in Dragon Boat Racing (which I really loved) and really enjoyed being on the water but sailing was completely new and a bit outside my comfort zone. My first sailing experiences were all about being an extra body onboard and just having a go. A few years later my husband (who had been a competitive sailor) bought a 41ft boat and I learnt the basics of sailing, learning the ropes and becoming a competent pair of hands.

A few years later I had the opportunity to jump onboard a Challenge 72, an ex round-the-world racing yacht (now known as Challenge Wales) and knowing how sailing might not always be or feel that accessible and that it can really develop social, communication and teamwork skills, I became a Board Member of the Challenge Wales sail training charity. A charity that uses sailing to inspire and develop young people to achieve their potential. Giving young people the opportunity to sail Challenge Wales and now our second vessel Adventure Wales has enabled some to take a career into the sailing world, for others it has enabled a career into the marine world, for others it has enabled them to feel positive about themselves and motivated them that anything can be possible.

Initially, I was not just a board member but a volunteer crew on many of the voyages but as I was hands-on with helping the new charity develop I stepped back from crewing to enable me to also meet all the people who were jumping onboard, bring in funding and recruit volunteer crew. Now as we head into our 12th year of operation I am amazed how far Challenge Wales has grown. The charity has sailed with thousands of young people jumping onboard, we have 100 volunteers as positive role models, our innovative sail training programme has received recognition within the industry and youth work sector and we even represented Wales at the Queens Jubilee Pageant in London in 2012.

In 2019 we piloted a couple of Ladies Only Sailing Days and a Sea and Tell programme which brings our sailing activities and sea-safety to younger children who can explore our boats in a safe way.

Being outdoors on the water is great for your mental health and connecting with nature and I am passionate about sustainability and environmental issues particularly microplastics (unfortunately) so it’s great that I can do this and learn through sailing and more importantly share my enthusiasm with others. I am one of those people that if I see an opportunity I grab it with both hands and will also encourage others to do the same. I hope for those who haven’t started sailing when they were really young realise there are still opportunities for getting involved out there.

Challenge Wales offers sailing opportunities for adults as well as young people. The charity works with young people aged 12 – 25 years but other activities the charity does means those aged 18 – 80 can also come sailing, volunteer as crew or get involved behind the scenes to enable more young people to have the opportunity.


We're recruiting for new roles at Challenge Wales

We’re Recruiting

Join us and share our amazing adventures!  As the Challenge Wales sail training charity looks forward to the future and restarting its activities we are on the hunt for a Skipper to join the team. This is a fantastic opportunity for someone who has the right sailing experience, fun and enthusiastic outlook , ability to manage maintenance activities, lead a team and wants to help young people develop their potential.

Deadline for applications:  21st May 2021

Click here to read the Skipper Job Description

This role will remain open until the right candidate is found.

Any enquiries regarding this role can be directed to the Challenge Wales office.

Two boats sailing in Wales

*Updated* Statement regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

As COVID-19 (Coronavirus) turns normality upside down and lockdown eases, 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 14th February 2022: Wales is in Alert Level 0 however, there are still COVID protocols in place onboard both our vessels. All voyage participants and crew will need to provide a negative lateral flow test on the morning of their voyage. These tests are available for free.

Our COVID Guarantee: We want you to book with total confidence and not worry about your voyage so should we not run a trip or postpone a trip (due to COVID) or you test positive for COVID prior to an activity and you can’t join us, we will offer you an alternative voyage, hold your money for a future trip or provide you with a refund. The choice is yours. If you hold a Challenge Wales Gift Voucher, and COVID stops you redeeming it, then your voucher will be extended (at no additional cost) for an additional 6 months, or longer if there are lockdown restrictions, giving you plenty of options to jump onboard.

UPDATE 30th May 2021: As our voyages resume on limited capacity, we will be requesting all participants and crew to provide a negative lateral flow test on the morning of the voyage. These tests are available free of charge and details. Challenge Wales day voyages will resume on 1st June 2021.

UPDATE 20th April 2021: The Challenge Wales office has reopened and keeping our guests and crew safe is our priority. At all times we will be following Government Guidance.

Our proposed roadmap is subject to change and further clarification:
* 31st March 2021: Organised Outdoor Activities for Children (Under 18’s) can restart. This will include our shore-side Sea and Tell programme with social distancing and masks and restrictions in place. We will be starting with groups who are in a bubble before opening this up to non-bubbled groups.
*18th April 2021: Staff/Volunteer training to recommence with limited numbers and government guidance and RYA Cymru guidance being followed
*Mid May/Beg June 2021: Adult day voyages can restart with limited numbers. Youth day voyages can restart with limited numbers.
*21st June 2021: Residential activities will restart for young people. This may include limited numbers or being in a bubble with COVID testing prior to a voyage commencing. Adult and Youth day voyages can start with increased numbers.

Challenge Wales has always operated a high level of hand hygiene on its vessels and deep cleaning during and between voyages. This will continue with additional hand sanitising prior to boarding the vessels, more hand cleaning opportunities and additional cleaning of high touch areas on the boats. Masks/face covering must be worn below deck.

UPDATE 26th March 2021: The safety of everyone who sails with us has been of paramount importance and we continue to stress that Challenge Wales and the outdoor residential sector has a huge part to play in the recovery from the Covid pandemic.

In light of announcements from Welsh Government (and UK Government which can differ), it now seems there is a form of roadmap to get us back on the water.

UPDATE 4th January 2021: The Challenge Wales office has now partly reopened. There will be no sailing activities while there is a national lockdown in place and we continue to follow government guidance. Strict protocols are in place for managing maintenance activities onboard during the winter months.

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