The aims of The Trust are:
- to preserve the Excelsior and other historic sailing vessels
- to authentically sail and maintain her
- to give supporters the opportunity to join in - sailing and socialising
After 2,000 years, the development of commercial sailing vessels was abruptly curtailed by the success of steam and internal combustion engines. All sorts of highly sophisticated working sailing craft became redundant. The Excelsior Trust recognises the importance of these craft as records of a more sustainable way of life
We ensure that "Excelsior" and other old ships continue to be sailed. We also ensure that everyone interested in old sailing ships can socialise, meet and talk about maritime heritage, and have hands-on experience too if desired. And generally we help to ensure that communities maintain their links with old ships.
The Excelsior Trust runs a regular social programme for its supporters - one of the benefits of joining. As well as being welcomed by our supporters, these events help to raise funds and keep the ship sailing. Events are often held at the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club in Lowestoft, but also at other venues in Suffolk and Norfolk.
By joining as a Friend or Governor, supporters will receive regular Newsletters, keeping them in touch with on-board activities, inviting them to forthcoming events and informing them about maritime heritage.
Do Historic Ships Have to be Sailed?
A museum ship permanently berthed alongside could only tell part of her story. If she is made of wood, she would decay very quickly without the preservative qualities of a saline environment; static museum ships cannot earn enough to pay for their ongoing maintenance.
The Excelsior Trust's bold solution to this problem is to make historic vessels earn their keep at sea. Apart from retaining a fuller knowledge of the technology involved, historic ships are great fun to sail! This encourages the young and active to become involved, which in turn gives the vessels themselves a more secure future. Time is proving this policy correct: "Excelsior" is in better condition now than when her rebuild was completed in 1989, whereas many of her contemporaries have become constructive total losses over the same period, victims of Britain's wet and humid climate.
The old saying "ships and men rot in port" still holds true, and with so much unemployment today there is no excuse for the loss of so much of our maritime heritage. The Excelsior Trust is doing something about it. . . .