Sail and Life Training Society marks 30 years with first reunion

Alumni return to Victoria for inaugural SALTS reunion celebrating the offshore sailing program

Sail and Life Training Society welcomed 100 alumni and their families back to Victoria for the first-ever reunion of offshore trainees since the organization’s maiden offshore voyage in 1988.

The organization, founded in 1974, provides leadership development and life skills through sailing trips.

“The precise nature of the offshore voyage, the community it creates aboard, and the places it takes us to, allows a kind of honest and deliberate cultural interaction. This kind of human experience, and the knowledge it gives us, is impossible to recreate and unique to SALTS offshore,” says one offshore voyage alumnus.

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For many coming from all over North America, the Sept. 1 reunion was the first time on the water in a tall ship since they last sailed together. SALTS’ offshore voyages took groups of young trainees on year-long sail and life training trips to multiple overseas ports including those in the US, Europe, South America, French Polynesia, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and China.

During the reunion, alumni sailed off Victoria’s waterfront on the same vessels they called home while sailing offshore.

SALTS is a registered charity that operates two tall ships out of Victoria and teaches 1,700 young people, ages 13 to 25, how to sail during five to ten-day voyages that develop relational skills and work ethic. Coastal sailing in BC waters began in 1974 and continues today, but the offshore (overseas) voyages were held from 1988-2008 and will recommence as soon as SALTS constructs a third schooner to add to its fleet, with construction slated to begin in 2019.

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