On 4 May 2009, Tenacity of Bolton, the boat built by boys, became part of the curriculum at Bolton School. Nine lucky Year 8 boys and a crew of three braced themselves to face the Irish Sea as they prepared to learn sailing, team working and leadership skills. Tides dictated that the boys set sail at 7.00am on 5 May in quite choppy seas. The plan was to spend the day in the Irish Sea and to harbour in Fleetwood at high tide (7.00pm) the same night. Over the following weeks, both boys and girls utilised the boat sialing and living on board in one-week blocks.
At the time, Mr Philip Britton, Headmaster of the Boys' Division, commented: "We have always prided ourselves on offering an incredibly diverse range of activities at Bolton School but this really does add an extra dimension to our extra-curricular provision. It is very exciting to think that boys and girls will now sail regularly out on the Irish Sea. As you can imagine, there has been a lot of interest from the pupils and this will be a very popular addition to the timetable. It will provide a wonderful experience and will help forge strong, rounded personalities - as well as offering a unique addition to their CV when applying for university and jobs."
Andrew Keat, aged 13, was one of the pupils that joined the boat on 4 May. He said at the time: "I am really looking forward to it, I know it will be a great experience. I've done a little bit of sailing on smaller boats on Lake Ullswater with Bolton School but this is something different. Besides teaching me how to sail, I think it will help develop my team working skills."
Mr Colin Wright, who skippered the boat, said: "The pupils will receive training in all aspects of manning the boat. This will include lots of hands-on deck work, trimming the sails, steering the boat, handling the mooring warps as well as involvement in other areas of life on board such as navigating the boat, keeping her shipshape down below and catering for the whole crew. It's a wonderful opportunity for the boys to learn how to sail but, also, to develop their team-working and self-discipline skills."
The 48 foot sailing ketch was built by boys, both in their Technology lessons and as part of a lunchtime club. The project began in 1998 as the Technology Department strove for an original concept to celebrate the millennium. Head of Technology at the time and Project Coordinator, Mr Mike Whitmarsh said: "We wanted to offer something to the boys that stretched them beyond the confines of the curriculum and this project certainly did that! Over 1,000 boys helped with the project. The boat is built to the highest specification and her construction was overseen by a Lloyds appointed surveyor. Besides all the hard work put in by the boys, the successful building of the boat also came about through the hard work of teachers, parents and friends of the school. The boat was a real community effort and without the largesse of local companies - both material and in terms of labour - the boat would never have been completed."
The construction took longer than expected and it was not until 2007 that the boat was ready to be transported by low-loading lorry up to Glasson Basin Marina, near Lancaster. The School held a launch party and the boat was officially named by the Rt Hon Richard Caborn MP. After that it underwent rigorous sea trials and was then utilised by a group of Bolton School Sixth Form Girls, who undertaking their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award.
View a gallery of photos here charting the progress of the boat as she locked out of Glasson Basin Marina.
After the week beginning 4 May, the boat was be "on timetable" for boys and girls and the school moved to a new level in terms of its extra-curricular provision.
The Tall Ships Youth Trust now manages the boat but girls and boys from Years 8 and 9 at Bolton School still have the option to sail on her.