OYT Scotland has a heritage dating back to the very start of the sail training movement.
Ocean Youth Club was founded in 1960 by Chris Ellis and the Rev. Chris Courtauld – offering sailing adventures to young people. A Scottish region of Ocean Youth Club was formed in 1978, and Ocean Youth Trust Scotland was established as an independent Scottish charity in 1999 ¬– with one vessel, 3 staff, a handful of volunteers and an annual capacity for working with 400 young people.
In 1997 Curly and Barbara Mills, organisers of the Scottish Islands Peaks Race, offered to support the building of a new vessel to replace the ageing Taikoo, as a gift to the young people of Scotland. This new boat was launched, and officially named as Alba Venturer by Barbara Mills at a ceremony in Glasgow on the 20th April 1999.
By 2006, to meet increasing demand, the Trust decided to expand the fleet. The ideal opportunity presented itself when the Global Challenge organisation put their Challenge 72' vessels on the market. OYT Scotland bought Samsung, renaming her Alba Explorer in December 2006, in time for the 2007 season. Alba Explorer proved to be a great success working in partnership with Alba Venturer, and OYT Scotland was the winner of the 'Sail Training Organisation of the Year' trophy awarded by Sail Training International in 2007.
Encouraged by that success, and once again with the tremendous enthusiasm, trust and generosity of Mr and Mrs Mills, a second Challenge 72'vessel, named Alba Endeavour, was purchased and came into service in May 2008, enabling the Trust to take up to 1,300 young people to sea per year from ports around Scotland. Also in 2008, volunteer skipper Malcolm MacArthur received the YouthLink Scotland Lifetime Achievement Award, for his long-term commitment and achievement within the field of youth work.
In 2009, OYT Scotland moved to a waterfront office and pontoon berths at Victoria Harbour in Greenock, made possible by Riverside Inverclyde.
The spirit of the charity has endured over this long period of time, and thanks to the ongoing support of hundreds of committed volunteers, a small team of dedicated permanent staff and the generous support of our patrons, OYT Scotland inspires change in over a thousand young people each year through adventure under sail.