Our History

A Brief History of Ocean Youth Trust Scotland

OYT Scotland has a heritage dating back to the very start of the sail training movement.


Ocean Youth Club was founded by Chris Ellis and Rev. Chris Courtauld to offer sailing adventures to young people.


1974 – The Scottish region of Ocean Youth Club was formed, sailing on Crusade skippered by Colin Lewry

1976 – Taikoo became Ocean Youth Club Scotland’s boat


Feb 1999 – Ocean Youth Trust Scotland was established as an independent Scottish Charity with 1 vessel, 3 staff, and a handful of volunteers.

Apr 1999 – Alba Venturer was launched. Curly and Barbara Mills, Trust Patrons, supported the building of a new vessel to replace the ageing Taikoo as a gift to the young people of Scotland.

Angular photo of Alba Explorer in a berth

2006 – To meet demand, Curly and Barbara bought a second vessel for OYT Scotland, named Alba Explorer. In a previous life as Samsung and LG Flatron, the Challenge 72’ had raced around the world in the BT Global Challenge.

2007 – OYT Scotland won the ‘Sail Training Organisation of the Year’ Trophy, awarded by Sail Training International

May 2008 - Curly and Barbara Mills purchased a second Challenge 72’ vessel and named her Alba Endeavour

2008 – Volunteer Skipper Malcolm MacArthur received the YouthLink Scotland Lifetime Achievement Award for his long-term commitment to youth work

2009 - OYT Scotland moved to a waterfront office and berths at Victoria Harbour in Greenock.


2011: The Tall Ships Race visited Greenock

2012: OYT Scotland purchased Volunteer, a Jeanneau Sunrise 34’. She is used for volunteer training.

2014: OYT Scotland took part in the Commonwealth Flotilla as part of the Glasgow XX Commonwealth Games

2014: OYT Scotland were awarded CashBack for Communities funding for the ‘New Horizons’ project which aimed to inspire young people at risk of poorer outcomes.

2015: A Parliamentary Reception was held at the Scottish Parliament to celebrate the success of the ‘New Horizons’ project.

2015: Alba Endeavour sold.


Group of young people, sea staff and volunteers aboard OYT Scotland vessel holding the Cashback for Communities2017: OYT Scotland were awarded Phase 4 of CashBack for Communities funding for the ‘On Course with CashBack’ project.

2018: OYT Scotland Cadet, Lewis Haig awarded ‘Yachtmaster of the Year 2018’ for his exceptional demonstration of sailing skills during his RYA Yachtmaster certificate of competence exam.

2019: Alba Volunteer sold.

2019: The Trust celebrated its 20th Anniversary with the ‘Ocean’s 20’ Gala Ball.

2020: OYT Scotland were awarded Phase 5 of the CashBack for Communities funding for the ‘Change Tack with CashBack’ project.

2020: OYT Scotland were unable to sail due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cashback for Communities group on water assault course

2021: The Trust successfully adapted their youth work programme to include land based outdoor education sessions, and introduced day-sails as part of the ‘Change Tack with CashBack’ project.

November 2022: OYT Scotland awarded the Greenock Chamber of Commerce ICON Award for Diversity

December 2022: OYT Scotland honoured to receive the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Volunteering Award, recognising the long-term commitment and support of our volunteers, past and present.

Skip to content