Four Big Issue vendors from Bath enjoyed an exhilarating day sailing around the Isle of Wight in the Solent with Tall Ships Youth Trust (TSYT) on Saturday. 

Dean Hoy, Tate Atlas, John Daniels and James Heaton travelled to Portsmouth where TSYT — the UK’s oldest and largest youth sail training charity is based, on Friday (20th August). They stayed onboard overnight with the crew to get an early start and make the most of their day sail.

Mike Miller, TSYT Skipper, said: “We had a lovely day sail with the guys from Big Issue Bath. Not too much breeze but plenty of tacks (changing direction), knot lessons and laughter. A really enlightening and thoroughly enjoyable day for all.”

James (46) had previously sailed with the charity on a four-day voyage to France in 2019.

He said: “Oh it was brilliant, it’s the best day I’ve had this year and I’ve actually had quite a lot of good days, so that’s saying something. I’ve learned lots of new skills and refreshed my memory from when I did this before. And it was brilliant just sailing under the sails because last time I did this it wasn’t very windy, so we did a lot of motoring. It was a real team building-experience and I’d love to come back as a volunteer.”

Tate (27), added: “I had a really cool day, I didn’t really know what to expect but I enjoyed being out on the water and taking it all in. Everyone got heavily involved. I never thought I’d have the opportunity to do anything like this and I’ve never sailed before, but I enjoyed learning new skills, getting stuck in with all the different jobs and I’d love to come back again, I feel like I’ve worked hard and the crew were lovely and we were a nice mixture of people.”

James and Tate weren’t the only ones who are eager to repeat their sailing experience with TSYT.

Dean (55), said: “It’s been an excellent day, I’ve enjoyed learning something different, learning new skills and while it was a brief trip it was long enough to make me want to come back and do this again. I enjoyed the physical activity, learning how to tie different knots and working the winches. I was given the chance to work on my leadership and communication skills and it felt good to have a key person in charge (the skipper) to make sure everything was smooth sailing.”

Big Issue Bath sales and outreach worker Chris Taylor, worked with TYST to create the opportunity for vendors to have new experiences.

He said: "The chance to sail with Tall Ships Youth Trust is a great experience for our vendors but it does offer so much more. It provides a time away to think about their lives and time to be inspired to take on new challenges and opportunities in life. The Tall Ships Youth Trust programme has the potential to change lives."

Big Issue vendors are back selling - but it's really tough out there. The high streets are quiet. Vendors have lost contact with some of their regular customers after Covid and are experiencing a drop in magazine sales.  To support, you can buy a copy of the magazine from your local Big Issue vendor or copy online at www.bigissue.com.