Looking beyond… Then seeing it through…
What we now know as Plymouth University began in 1862 as the School of Navigation, with a continuous thread of development between then and now, through the Institute of Navigation, the Technical College, the Polytechnic and finally today's new Marine Institute within the University.
Between 1964 and 1980 Tectona was the sail training ketch for the School of Navigation. She had been built in 1929 as a yacht on a beach in Calicut India and during WW2 was a delivery vessel to the Outer Hebrides. A period of neglect followed, but by 1958 Capt Tom Blackwell had restored Tectona and offered skippered charters on board, notably to Alan Villiers who published articles about west country cruises on board in the National Geographic in the early 1960s, so she was in good fettle when she began her time with Plymouth.
During her time with Plymouth University she was used to give seagoing experience to students, under the guidance of (by today's standards very highly qualified!) senior staff. Her voyages were relatively local around Devon, Cornwall and the Channel Islands and many members of the alumni association PYNDA recall these as a time of adventure and discovery, not to mention humour.
Elsewhere on this site you can read about Tectona's subsequent history and how in 2007 she had been laid up near Marseilles. She was bought by her present owner and sailed back to Plymouth needing a major refit and a new main deck. She was re-coded by May 2009.
Since then she has been again showing her amazing fitness for purpose as a sail training vessel. Tectona Trust loans her free of charge to the Island Trust, who make many voyages out of Plymouth with needy young people, including many from the new Marine Academy Plymouth whose stakeholders include the University.
Currently the Marine Institute offers foundation and degree courses in a wide range of subjects including Maritime Business, Maritime Law, Marine Biology, Conservation, and BScs in Merchant Shipping, Navigation and Ocean Yachting. Their facilities are state-of-the-art and include a new wave tank and Ships Bridge Simulator.
Tectona Trust is proud to be associated with the University and we are grateful for their on-going support as we provide our own adventure sailing voyages for people who are abstinent in Recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.
In 2013 for the first time we welcomed 2 trainee Doctors onto one of our Recovery voyages. This was the core activity in a Student Selected Unit called 'At Sea With Recovery', and successfully met its aim of giving them an in-depth experience of what addiction and recovery is really like. They also had a great time on the boat and have since generously given time and expertise to the Tectona project.
In 2014 Tectona also hosted a crew of ex-care students from the University, following donations by The Swarthmore Trust, Andrew Eccleston and our own Trust. Asked later if the voyage should be offered to other students, one of the guest crew commented, "Offered? It was brilliant! They should be forced to do it!"
The Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry is carrying out a formal academic study to research the effects of our Recovery voyages, again bringing us into contact with her alma mater! See: Research
Her name also lives on in the University, where the Tectona Business Challenge is now well established, so named 'to symbolise strength, durability, navigation, growth and journeys …'
In 2012 Tectona was delighted to host a party on board to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the University of Plymouth and the new Marine Institute"