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A voyage of discovery

Celebrating the development of young people through the medium of sailing

Our yacht paint is usually designed to make a difference to boats and their owners – but when it comes to the Donald Searle, it’s also about helping to provide life-changing voyages for young people.

The vessel is operated by the Rona Sailing Project in the UK. Since 1979, it has been used to train young people and help them develop skills such as leadership, resourcefulness, responsibility and teamwork, all through the medium of sailing.

To celebrate the organization’s 40th year, the Donald Searle has been given a complete refit thanks to a project led by two AkzoNobel employees – Tim Bannister and Gareth Thomas – who are also members of the Rona Trust.

The repaint was performed using a system of long-standing Awlgrip products, along with several new cutting-edge additions to the range, including Aerowave 2501, Quick Build Surfacer and Awlgrip HDT.

“The Rona Sailing Project and the Donald Searle have allowed so many young people to experience potentially life-changing opportunities, when they otherwise might never have sailed, let alone had the opportunity to be part of a proper ocean voyage,” explains Gareth.

“The project has also helped AkzoNobel in turn by allowing us to monitor the performance of our newly developed products prior to launch. So we are delighted that we can continue to support them – not only with high quality products, but with the passion and dedication that great charities like this deserve.”

It’s estimated that the helm of the Donald Searle has been held by more than 15,000 pairs of hands over decades of training voyages. With the help of 400 dedicated volunteers, 2,500 young people a year have been given the opportunity to experience a voyage at sea.

This enormous undertaking required a huge amount of teamwork and dedication to complete, with more than a dozen volunteers working over 400 hours to prepare and paint the yacht in time for its 40th birthday.

Likewise, the Rona Sailing Project was saved the majority of the project’s expenses thanks to the generous support of many local and international businesses. These included Super Yacht Solutions, Brandon Tool Hire, RS Components, Consumables Express, Carlisle Fluid Technologies and AIRIA Compressed Air Solutions, all of whom were brought together thanks to AkzoNobel’s many ongoing partnerships, and were excited at the opportunity to collaborate on such a worthwhile project.

For more information about our product range, visit the Awlgrip website.