Dream Yacht Charter celebrate a successful first year with charity partner Oarsome Chance

16th Dec 2019
Solo Sailor names yacht for Oarsome Chance Charity

Dream Yacht Charter celebrate a successful first year with charity partner Oarsome Chance

At last year’s Southampton Boat Show, we announced a brand new charity partnership with Hampshire based Oarsome Chance. Since then, the partnership has gone from strength to strength, with a number of events planned with the charity and our new Dufour 460 GL being named ‘Oarsome Dream’ in their honour.

But where do the donations that our customers have kindly given actually go and how do they help? We spoke to Oarsome Chance apprentice, Joe, who has benefited from the support of the charity over the last four years and is now two years into a four year marine engineering apprenticeship, to find out how the organisation have helped him and what the donations mean to him.  

Q) So, Joe, tell me about yourself

A) My name is Joe and I’ve just turned 18. I live in Havant with my family and have been with Oarsome Chance since 2015. I am currently two years into a four year marine engineering apprenticeship and that’s all thanks to Oarsome Chance.

Q) Why did you start coming to Oarsome Chance?

A) Before coming to Oarsome Chance, I attended a mainstream secondary school in Portsmouth. During my time at school, I struggled quite a bit, with learning and my behaviour. I think my learning suffered because I wasn’t getting the support I needed to achieve anything, and I think that’s true of a lot of kids these days – sometimes, rather than give kids who have difficulties a bit of extra support, it’s easier for them to exclude them or brand them as ‘naughty’ but that’s not always the case. When I started coming here, John (the principal) and the other volunteers really helped me to realise my own potential and helped me to believe that I COULD make something of myself, I just needed a bit of support and understanding. 

Related article: Who are Oarsome Chance, Dream Yacht Charter’s charity partner?

Q) How did you hear about Oarsome Chance?

A) Due to my struggles at school, one of my teachers suggested I try and come to Oarsome Chance a few times a week. I was unsure it would be any good at first, but it’s literally the best decision I’ve ever made. Within the first year of coming here, I was a completely different person and for the first time, I had an idea of what I wanted to do after I left school.

Q) What sort of things can the kids do at Oarsome Chance?

A) Loads! When you first come, one of the main tasks is skiff building. I’ve helped build a few since I came here. They’re basically build it yourself boat kits and each person has their own part to play in building it. The workshop at Oarsome Chance has a number of workbenches in, each with the tools you need to build the skiffs like vices and sanders, and each bench has two kids at it. We also do lots of activities like, rowing, both indoors and on the river, and we help in the Canvas Works too – they’re part of the charity and make bags and wallets out of recycled boat sails. We’ve recently been making stuff out of UK Master yachtsman Alex Thomson’s previous HUGO BOSS sails. It’s cool!

For the last couple of years, I’ve also taken part in the British Rowing Indoor Championships (BRIC), previously as a junior and now as an adult. Something I’d never of done had it not been for Oarsome Chance. 

Q) How has Oarsome Chance helped you?

A) Honestly, I’d not be doing as well as I am now if it wasn’t for them. Initially, it was little things they helped me with, like building my confidence and helping me to realise my potential. After about a year, John helped me get some work experience as an underwater diver with a local marine diving company. I had an amazing time, learning what’s involved in boat cleaning and inspection and got to meet some really nice people. Then, I decided I wanted to have a career in marine engineering and asked John how I could do that.

“I think my learning suffered because I wasn’t getting the support I needed to achieve anything, and I think that’s true of a lot of kids these days – sometimes, rather than give kids who have difficulties a bit of extra support, it’s easier for them to exclude them or brand them as ‘naughty’ but that’s not always the case.”

I realised I would need to get my maths and English GCSEs, something I’d been unable to achieve while in mainstream school, but with John’s help, I went on to get them, which was great. That meant I could do what I really wanted to do. Having spent a few years with the charity, I was lucky enough to be chosen to start a marine engineering apprenticeship with them, which I did in 2017.I have two years left and in February, I will start working for Alex Thomson and his team as part of my course. I am really excited.

Q) Do you think you’d have been able to achieve the same things without Oarsome Chance?

A) No! I don’t think I’d be working at all. Let alone still getting an education! I left mainstream school on Friday and started here on Monday! That’s how much I love it. The staff here have helped me build my social skills and confidence and I’ve learnt a lot about myself. I never really considered that I had any strengths, but now, well, I’ve got quite a few! This charity is everything to me. If it wasn’t for John and the team I wouldn’t know as many people as I now do which has opened up a whole load of opportunities for me that I’d never have had otherwise.

Q) What’s your greatest achievement so far?

A) At the start of 2019, I got the chance to assist in the fit out of Dream Yacht Charter’s brand new Dufour 460 GL. The company are based locally and Oarsome Chance are their official charity. It was amazing to have hands on experience and it was thanks to this that I met Alex Thomson. He is Dream Yacht Charter’s brand ambassador, so he was the chosen person to officially name and christen the boat in April. The yacht was named, ‘Oarsome Dream’ – I felt really proud. 

Q) So what’s next for Joseph James?

A) Loads! I start my two-year contract with AT Racing in February, and will be part of the team who gets the new HUGO BOSS ready for the 2020 Vendee Globe, which starts next November. At the end of that contract, I’ll be a qualified marine engineer, so I guess the sky’s the limit!

While Oarsome Chance are doing a fantastic job in supporting these kids, the organisation are reliant on donations to be able to continue offering this level of support and guidance. Currently, they are only able to offer two apprenticeships and four post-16 courses which result in the individuals achieving a City and Guilds in Marine Engineering, but are aiming to increase this in the coming year to accommodate eight of each. 

Find out more

If you would like to find out more about our partnership, call 02380 455527 or email sales@dreamyachtcharter.co.uk. Inspired by the work Oarsome Chance do? You can donate to the charity, here.