MORE than 100 recovering heroin and alcohol addicts are taking a step closer to staying clean by sailing a boat around the coast of Britain.
The 12-week Voyage of Recovery will see recovering addicts from all over the country learn how to sail the Tectona.
The 80-ft gaff ketch was due to sail from Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth today for the next leg of its journey to Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire.
Dr Roger Crabtree is chief executive of the Tectona Trust, which has organised the voyage with the UK-wide drug rehabilitation organisation Phoenix Futures and the Island Trust charity.
He said: ‘It is a 12-leg around Britain voyage. The first leg was for benefactors, staff and people who have been involved with the project.
‘The second and all of the other legs are going to be crewed by people who are in recovery from heroin and alcohol problems who are clients of the Phoenix Futures charity.
‘We have done three voyages in previous years. What we have found it the outcomes for the clients who come with us seem to be a lot better than people who have struggled with addiction who haven’t been on one of our voyages.
‘The effect of sail training is that it makes people much more confident in themselves and have more self esteem and a feeling of their value in the world.
The problem with rehab is that even people who are completely committed to getting off heroin , when they come out of rehab, very often their underlying problems are still there.
‘To some of the public drug addicts are often seen as criminals, but a lot of these people are victims as well who have had terrible experiences.’
For the first time experts from Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Plymouth are closely monitoring the project to measure its success in improving outcomes for recovering addicts.
The 1,800-mile (2,897km) trip sailed from Plymouth on August 1.