Give us your Wearside memories of the Big Yellow Boat

Young adventurers enjoying the thrills of sail training on-board James Cook.
Young adventurers enjoying the thrills of sail training on-board James Cook.
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A tall ship which is coming to Sunderland is celebrating a special anniversary with a rousing appeal to former crew members.

The UK registered James Cook - affectionately known as the Big Yellow Boat - is 30 years old this year and to mark the milestone its operators want to hear from anyone who has sailed on board in the past.

The trust is looking to re-connect with anyone who has sailed on-board in the past as a member of crew, group leader or volunteer. We would like to share your memories of your time on board – whether that’s which bunk you’ve slept in; people you met or places you went

Steve Lennon

The ship is operated by the charity Ocean Youth Trust North (OYTN), based in North Shields, which specialises in the personal development of young people and adults through ocean sailing.

The 70ft ocean-going yacht was designed and built on the Tyne in 1987 for the Ocean Youth Club by apprentices from British Shipbuilders, later to become Swan Hunters.

During her lifetime she has taken over 9,000 young people, most of them from the North East, for a sailing adventure.

Managing director for OYTN, Steve Lennon, said: “The trust is looking to re-connect with anyone who has sailed on-board in the past as a member of crew, group leader or volunteer.

“We would like to share your memories of your time on board – whether that’s which bunk you’ve slept in; people you met or places you went. We would like to hear your stories and see your photos, if you would like to share!

“To get in touch, call in to see us, visit our Facebook page (Ocean Youth Trust North) or email charlotte.young@oytnorth.org.uk.”

James Cook is one of two latest ships to sign up to the Sunderland leg of next year’s Tall Ships Races, along with the Belgian vessel Rupel which is celebrating its 21st birthday this year.

The ship was built by unemployed youngsters on the bank of the river Rupel in the Flanders area of Belgium.

Sunderland City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture, Councillor John Kelly welcomed them both and said: “It is great to hear that even though there is just over 11 months to go; ships from around the UK and Europe are already making plans to come to Sunderland.

“Whether the vessels and crews come from as far as Belgium or as near as Tynemouth, I’m sure that they will all receive a fantastic welcome to Sunderland and to what is sure to be a memorable event.”