North Ayrshire’s “pretty special” CashBack voyage

Setting sail on the 25th September, a group of 10 young people from North Ayrshire set sail on an exciting 5 day voyage around the west coast of Scotland. The group threw themselves into the experience which one young person described as “a great adventure I’d love to do again.”

On board the 72ft yacht Alba Explorer, the young people had the chance to steer the boat, navigate, and cook for the crew of 18, all whilst gaining valuable skills and qualifications. The group sailed from Greenock, stopping off at Holy Loch before making their way down the Firth of Clyde to Lamlash on the Isle of Arran. From there, they travelled to Tarbert before ending their voyage back in Greenock.

Despite some rough seas and challenging conditions, all of the young people had a wonderful adventure that a young person felt was “pretty special to me, making new friends, discovering new skills and just having fun!”

OYT Scotland enables young people from all over Scotland with the opportunity to sail, building skills such as teamwork, confidence, and resilience. Another young person who sailed on the voyage said that “it’s helped me gain valuable skills, meet lovely people and made new friends, and have made great memories for the future.”

This project is transforming 288 young people’s lives over three years thanks to an award from the “CashBack for Communities” scheme – the Scottish Government’s proceeds of crime fund. Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson said: “Through CashBack we are supporting many of Scotland’s most disadvantaged young people to reach their full potential in life, helping them to learn new skills, boost their confidence and develop as responsible citizens.

Nick Fleming, Chief Executive of OYT Scotland added: “We are excited to have young people from North Ayrshire as part of the On Course with CashBack programme. OYT Scotland voyages offer young people a life changing opportunity, giving them a chance to take part in teamwork and leadership roles. These are transferable skills that can be used in other areas of their lives. This programme aims to develop young people and the group taking part in this voyage have demonstrated that it has been a success.  Our highly trained sea-staff (both professionals and volunteers) are able to get the best from each individual. The combination of engaged group leaders and focused sea-staff means that these young people can reach goals that they never thought possible, and this can give them a whole new outlook on life“.

Over the past 18 years, OYT Scotland has grown to become one of the leading sail training charities in the world. With two sail training vessels, Alba Explorer and Alba Venturer, OYT Scotland completed 55 voyages with 552 young people in 2016.


For more information about OYT Scotland go to

For more information on the Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities scheme go to

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