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© 2008 Westward Quest Ltd   charity SC007154;   Company No 170882


From an article by Richard Moore

Date: 04/02/00


If the BBC's Castaway 2000

series is anything to go by, a theme for the new century

could be escapism. More and more people seem to

be looking to get away from it all-if only for a few

days-and that's creating a booming industry in

excursions which specialise in 'roughing it.' But

you don't need to wait for the BBC's next 'social experiment,' and you needn't necessarily have to

pay over the odds to indulge in a spot of escapism.

Westward Quest is a


Company, which owns and maintains two sailing boats and organises a range of

trips for an even wider range of people. Since the company is a not-for-profit enterprise the cost to participants is kept to a minimum, and subsidised places are available Not bad for an experience which involves living and working on a luxurious sailing boat costing somewhere in the region of


Weaver, the boat currently in use, can take nine people on trips, typically from two to five

days in length, while the trust's original vessel, the smaller, less luxurious

Scampi III-winner of the

World half-ton Cup in 1972 -- is consigned to semi-retirement.  From March, for as long as the  weather allows, Weaver is pretty much constantly in

use, and last year over 100 people, many of them

complete  novices, took part in Westward Quest's

programme of excursions.  

Of the four directors of the trust, two are  professionally

qualified yachtmasters, including Robert Rae. According to him: "it's not uncommon, on short coastal trips, for there to be only one really experienced person on board-which sounds a bit horrifying. But that's not the

intention at all.  "What we do is not commercial, nor does it involve any sort of formal training," continues

Rae. "We just aim to give people a good time-it's got to be fun. I don't subscribe to the idea of taking people

out and making them sea sick-I don't know that that

really builds character. It can be wild, but hopefully it's always fun."

Nevertheless, there is plenty of  scope for observing people as they come to terms with working in a team, and  invariably with people they don't know.