TS Helen Mary R

TS Helen Mary R

The UK's only Bowman 57 sail training vessel; built and launched by the Rona Sailing Project in 1986 and owned by us since 2010, Helen Mary R now sails from Cornwall providing inspirational life changing voyages for young people.

Helen Mary R is the only sail training variant of the Bowman 57. Designed by famous yacht designers Holman & Pye and built by Southern Boatbuilding Company and the Rona Sailing Project. She was launched by Brigader Bagnall in 1985/1986 and started sail training straight away. The first 26 years of Helen Mary R's life was spent with the London/Rona Sailing Project on the river Hamble, near Southampton until she was sold in 2010 when we brought her to her new home in the South West.

She's now been sailing for 37 years and is a true classic of the sea; she's inspired over 5000 young people and sailed over 100,000 nautical miles based on her logbooks! We regularly get people coming over when arriving in a new port and telling us they sailed on her when they were 14! Chosen because of her fantastic ocean-going pedigree, John Ridgeway completed the Whitbread Round the World race in English Rose VI, another Bowman 57 in 1976/7; we are proud to call Helen Mary R our own and look forward to seeing where our adventures take her next.

Helen Mary R's Principal Dimensions:

Length Overall
Air Height
Max Speed

The term Tall Ship has been used for as long as people have been sailing. Most agree, though, that the term was first used regularly following the organisation of the first Tall Ship's race in 1956. The first race of the sail training ships took place from Torbay, UK to Lisbon, Portugal, and the event was so incredibly popular that Sail Training International decided to make it a biennial then annual event. There are four classes of Tall Ship; classes A through D. Helen Mary R is a class D tall ship, being a modern rigged vessel (She is a type of Ketch) with an LOA of less than 40 metres and with a LWL of at least 9.14 metres carrying spinnaker-like sails.

Helen Mary R is maintained to a standard exceeding the requirements of the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) small commercial vessel codes of practice (Category 2). She has the safety features, equipment and capability to be sailed up to 60 miles from a safe haven. All volunteer sea staff undergo thorough safety training and vessel familiarisation before setting sail. Lifejackets with integral harnesses and good quality waterproofs are provided. Codes of conduct are in place and our sailing staff will ensure a positive, supportive and encouraging atmosphere is maintained throughout the voyage.

Helen Mary R sails with a compliment of up to 16. The sea staff; collectively called the Afterguard, consists of a Skipper, Mate, 2 Watch Officers and sometimes, 2 Watch Leaders. Watch Leaders are young people who have sailed with us before and who have been invited to join Morvargh Sailing Project as a volunteer after showing leadership potential. There will always be a Skipper and Mate on board but you may not have a Watch Officer or a Watch Leader, depending on the type of voyage.

Helen Mary R is a comfortable sail training vessel, with two seating areas (on the boat these are called the upper & lower saloon), well equipped kitchen (also known as a galley) and two toilets (called heads). The sleeping area is open plan throughout the boat with snug bunks and your own storage area.

Where is Helen Mary R?

UK Sail Training
member of ASTO
Inspected under the standards of the MCA
Sail Training International
Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme
Cornwall Marine Network


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