Welcome to our winter newsletter from the R. Tucker Thompson. We’ve finished another tourism season, turned the ship around and are now half way through our first schedule of youth voyages for the year.
Like many tourism operators this year, we finally saw an improvement in our revenues, after several years of decline since the global financial crisis. These surpluses are vital for us to continue the level of subsidies we offer to Northland students for their sail training voyages.
Earlier this year we undertook a survey of former sail trainees and their parents to establish what they perceived the value of our voyages were to them. In some respect it was a leap of faith, but it’s always important to know what your customer thinks and if necessary make changes to continuously improve. We were very heartened to see that overwhelmingly, both parents and sail trainees felt their voyage was of benefit to them and we have independent confirmation we are doing what we have set out to do. The survey also identified areas for improvement and these have been or are being implemented.
A link to the survey is here, and I would encourage you to read some of the actual comments on pages 40-41 from parents and trainees concerned as for some the voyage is truly life-changing. For the crew and the staff here at the Trust, it was really encouraging to receive this feedback and makes what we do worthwhile.
Last winter, we took a total of 173 sail trainees away on voyages of discovery spread across 16 voyages between April and October. The highlight of the winter programme was the final voyage where our sail trainees headed up the coast to welcome the fleet of tall ships that were sailing from Sydney to Opua. The Tucker found the Dutch Bark Europa off Doubtless Bay and our sail trainees performed the haka to her and all the other vessels as they made their way into the shelter of the Bay of Islands after their Trans-Tasman voyage.
This year we hope to deliver a similar number of voyages however funding is restricted, despite our improvement in tourism revenue. The Ministry of Social Development have just advised that they will no longer fund young people in the region at risk of poor life outcomes, and this decision will mean that around 21 young people with limited access to funding won’t get the chance to do a voyage.
If you, your company or club wished to sponsor an individual please do get in touch, we’d love to hear from you! We are short of about 40 places at present and all help would be greatly appreciated. Even a small donation would assist and we have set up a Givealittle account here if you are able to support our 2014 voyages, you can do it online easily. For those of you who already make a monthly contribution, or who have offered to sponsor a place, thank you very much. It is greatly appreciated.
And of course if you know of a young person who would like to do a voyage, please encourage them to register. We still have a few spare places on our school holiday voyage in July.
We are fast approaching that time of year for maintenance which starts at the end of July and carries on through August. Most of our cash reserves are being used to subside students but fortunately, we have broken the back of our historic maintenance, so our budget this year is a more modest amount, a large part being allocated to the usual sanding, painting and varnishing. We appreciate most people can’t spare much money, but for those that can spare the time, that is just as important! Please email Sam on firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to come along and lend us a hand.
We are again planning to visit Whangarei Harbour at the end of October with school sailings, group sailings, Kiddies Pirate sailings and an Open Day in the Town Basin. If your are interested in securing a slot for your company or social club, just email Marsha at email@example.com
No it is not an X-rated voyage where risque activities take place, rather it is a chance for adults to experience the opportunity of sailing our stunning coast on a tall ship! We are frequently asked, “how can I go on one of these voyages?” Well, here’s your chance. We won’t force you to jump into the sea at 0700, we won’t make you climb the shrouds and touch the ends of the yards – although there will still probably be a Turk’s Head badge of honour bracelet if you do. This will be a 2-day, 1-night sail back up the coast from Whangarei to Opua departing the town basin Tuesday 28 October and arriving in Opua on 29 Wednesday October. There will only be 10 berths available so if you are interested either for yourself or a group for a team building activity, please get in touch.
In the meantime, we trust that you are surviving these dark winter days and the somewhat gloomy weather. Remember our crew and sail trainees start every day with their “mineral spa” at 0700 and are out in the elements while we are tucked up at home, so we have nothing to complain about really. But notwithstanding, roll on summer!