Ocean Venture is an adventure sailing charity and a serving arm of the Apex Church working alongside the community on the Isle of Wight and further afield. Our aim is to be a catalyst for drawing men alongside one another for friendship and encouragement when life’s challenges are tough to get through alone.
Being out at sea and immersed in adventure gets you back to fundamentals far from the comforts of dry land. Only a few days on board brings out the best in human nature; living and working together, talking, laughing and putting the world to rights. We learn more than we’d expect.
To encourage and re-envision men through life’s challenges; addictive natures, marital breakdowns or a fading sense of purpose among many.
Ocean Venture utilises the natural adventure and camaraderie found only at sea. Restoring meaning to lives, building trust through responsibility and creating life experience that can be drawn on back on dry and familiar land.
How That Looks.
The uses of Ocean venture are as varied as the people who sail with us.
Typically we are suited to group bookings with max of 12 persons. Where someone is inspired to organise others to do something they have not considered before.
It’s our conversations and networking that leads a varied crew that has included ex-offenders, the long term unemployed or those on a ’voyage of recovery’. Most could just use a friend after finding themselves in an uncomfortable place in life. We don’t label ‘types’ as we tend to end up with a right mixed bunch that are soon shaped up into a fully functioning crew that get the boat sailing. Getting out into the breeze and away from the daily grind seems to bring people alive and a sense of hope begins to appear on the horizon.
How the Vision Became Reality.
Rick Ganly, ‘skipper’ of Ocean venture was 22yrs old and out travelling the world when he had a life changing experience at sea.
Crossing the Pacific to Australia on a small 40’ sailing boat with an old seadog they encountered several storms. On one 3,000 mile leg they got caught in a cyclone with such enormous waves that it took the rudder off while slipping down one of them backwards.
What was intended as a 30 day voyage became 70 days and they exhausted their supply of water and food. There were no life rafts, radio or electronics and they shared a cheap wet weather suit between them. The situation was serious and Rick wrote a message saying what had happened and threw it over board in a bottle asking any finder if it could be forwarded to his parents’ address if the worst should happen.
"When you think your dying, that it’s all going to be over very soon, even the toughest of men are not afraid to admit they get on their knees and pray".
It was an incredible voyage and on reaching Brisbane a different young man got off the boat to when he got on. Where one journey ended a new journey of faith had begun.
Astonishingly, the letter in a bottle was found on Noosa Island off Australia six months on and forwarded home.
Today, Rick lives and works in Cowes on the Isle of Wight where that letter hangs in the hall as a daily reminder of salvation and of what real adventure is.
Season 1 > Celtic Mist.
Having since crossed the ocean many times now it was a meeting with Connor Haughy, son of Ireland’s ex-prime minster, that started it all. In helping bring his Fathers boat back from France, Connor wasn’t too sure what to do with the boat. Rick shared his vision of having a boat big enough to take guys who were having a tough time in life out on. Rick asked if he could take the boat to Cowes where he would look after it and bring it back to Dingle each August for the annual regatta his father had traditionally started from the boat. It was agreed! Peter Harrison, a business man and friend agreed a free berth and use of the Medina boat yard in Cowes, without which it would not be financially viable. The rest is history. That boat, 'Celtic Mist', served to get us started but a subsequent boat was needed that complied with the MCA (a sea safety certificate).
Season 2 > Ocean Venture.
Having seen a suitable boat in Cowes for a couple of years not moving much Rick got in touch with the owner via a well-known local sailor who had built and maintained the vessel. He’d sailed it for many years taking young people out on tall ship races and voyaged round the world on it.
Both were sympathetic to what we were about and a meeting was arranged. Unknowingly, 'Ocean Venture' was up for sale when talks started. Having originally been built for doing ‘good works’ the owner was happy to see Ocean Venture continue that vein. It was withdrawn from the market and replaced 'Celtic Mist', being entrusted indefinitely to our cause. It is a very different boat; bigger and well founded. Its condition is a credit to its caretaker and owner and most importantly, a lot easier to maintain with spares and enough sails to keep it going for years!
ABOUT THE BOAT:
● 60 foot Schooner
● 14 berth
● Purpose built in 1980
● Based in Cowes
● Fully kitted out for ocean adventure
● Insured and coded for up to 12 people plus 2 crew (skipper and mate)
HOW YOUR BOOKING HELPS US: Booking ocean venture helps us to fund the maintenance programme and running costs required for work of this nature and we are able to invite people on board from all walks of life, social or economic backgrounds. No previous sailing experience is required.
Download our PDF flyer by clicking the cover above