The Sailhaven Project - A Sailboat for Local Kids

By Steve Brand | April 30, 2019



An innovative and positive sailing project for local kids

At Seahaven Maritime Academy we train students from around the world but we are also very pleased to be located in the Port of Newhaven and take a great interest in what’s happening in the local community.

We got talking to Frederic Laloux, Project Manager of the Sailhaven Project, based in Newhaven. He told us all about the sailboat he planned to renovate and the good it could do for local youth.

It’s very important that young people have the opportunities to learn and develop new skills with outdoor activities that will help set them up for their lives ahead. We definitely wanted the academy to play a part in that.

We really warmed to his vision of bring community sailing to our town and feel that this project will be of huge benefit to generations of local, young people for many years to come.

It’s very important to back these kinds of projects when they come along and people like Frederic are prepared to get stuck in and make it happen. We also liked this quote from him, as below:-

Boating doesn’t have to be the privilege of the few. We plan to create a community project that will not only bring young local talent into the restoration work, but perhaps want to be sailors too. Developing a community spirit towards a common goal.
– Frederic Laloux, Sailhaven Project, Newhaven

Everybody on the team here instantly agreed that we wanted to support the project by donating the odd item here and there but mainly in using our experience and expertise to train local youngsters to sail with confidence and in safety.

We want them to get the very best out of their time sailing aboard the Naima, a really wonderful old sailboat that is currently undergoing restoration.

Training the kids to be confident and safe when sailing

We really wanted to become an integral component of the Sailhaven Project and play a serious role in making it a success.

The first step to getting the kids off land and out into the wide, blue yonder was to offer them a Basic Seamanship Course.

We began by providing this course for free to five local children, courtesy of Seahaven Maritime Academy and in partnership with the Sailhaven Project. We have six more sessions planned this year.

We are doing this not as a big corporation style publicity stunt but we felt that by getting involved we could offer tangible help in getting a truly wonderful and constructive project off the ground.

This is a local association working together with a local business. We also want to help in getting the Sailhaven Project as much exposure as possible. Our community yacht also needs hands so please do get in touch if you feel that you can help.

The Naima is currently being restored by the Sailhaven Project

The Naima has already been sanded down to bare wood all over, revealing her really quite beautiful mahogany construction.

She was initially worked on in Greenwich where more of her mahogany planking was uncovered. Naima has since been transported by low loader to our home town of Newhaven in East Sussex and arrived on the 5th of November.

She has been carefully placed upon a maintenance cradle where more extensive work on her structure could be carried out.

The keel has been cleaned and the rudder renewed. The engine has been checked over and, amazingly, it started first time after many years of laying idle. The old paintwork has been removed from the deck, the transom cleaned and everything taken back to bare wood. Restoration is still under way and she’s already starting to look like a really capable sailboat.

If you are an individual who wants to learn about yacht restoration and sailing then please do get in touch with the Sailhaven Project. Their details are at the foot of this article.

The Sailhaven Project and future plans

Just recently, it was with some pride that Sailhaven announced that they’d been successful in securing a small grant from Newhaven Town Council for their project. They need many more donations to remain afloat but this particular donation was both hugely welcome and extremely heartening. Now is also a good time to mention Sailhaven’s amazing fundraiser, Abi Beaumont.

Another wonderful and very generous donation came from the Teddy Treats children’s charity who pledged £250. The amount of support Sailhaven has received since the project started has been phenomenal and they are very thankful for all donations received.

The donations and grants so far, including one of £2,000, will cover the boatyard fees for the remainder of 2019 and the wood needed for the restoration work. Sailhaven probably need another £5000 to complete the job but this is a really fantastic start. It’s very heartening to see that people now view Sailhaven as a credible and worthwhile association for the community

Keep looking in and we’ll keep you informed and up to date as the Sailhaven Project progresses.

If you would like to donate your time or some money to this wonderful project then you can contact the Sailhaven team on the links below:-

The Sailhaven Project Website Home Page.

The Sailhaven Project Fundraising Page.

The Sailhaven Project Facebook Page.

Our Training Courses

Seahaven Maritime Academy, based at The Port of Newhaven in East Sussex, is the ideal place for training for a career at sea. The links below will provide you with more detail:-

Click here for a full list of our Professional Courses.

Click here for a full list of our RYA Courses.

Click here to contact us for more information.

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About The Author

Steve Brand
Managing Director

Steve is a highly experienced instructor with a long and impressive track record in safety-critical working environments. Training is much more than a job for him, it is a vocation and his dedication and care for his valued students is second to none.


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