Tall Ships (Wales) Trust

The Tall Ships (Wales) Trust was set up in 1990 and originally called Tall Ships Race Council. In 2000 it changed its name to Tall Ships (Wales) Trust and over the years has brought many Tall Ships to Pembrokeshire and supported local residents in taking part in Sail Training voyages.

Seafair Haven has taken place every two years since 2006 and was originally hosted by Milford Haven Port Authority. In 2012 the TS(W)T took over the biennial event and has hosted it at Lawrenny ever since. Unfortunately, Seafair Haven did not happen in 2020 because of COVID.

Who we are

Ted Sangster


Ted has been a trustee of the Tall Ships (Wales) Trust since having first been involved when Chief Executive of Milford Haven Port Authority which was a major supporter for a number of years since the founding of the trust following the Tall Ships Race in 1991. Ted continued in a personal capacity since retiring from MHPA in 2010. His career has been in managing ports and shipping services around the UK with Sealink, Caledonian MacBrayne, Stena and other companies. Now firmly rooted in Pembrokeshire and Wales he is active in several organisations including being chair of the Darwin Centre, vice-chair of Saundersfoot Harbour, trustee of the Waterfront Gallery in Milford Haven and chair of the Pembrokeshire Business Panel.

Martin Sykes

Martin Sykes


Martin, an ex-farmer, began sailing when he was 45 although he had owned a small dhow on Lake Victoria in 1960. He enjoys racing, mostly on a SS34, and has taken part in three Fastnet races, as well as trips to Spain and Portugal, a total of around 30,000 miles. As commodore of Pembrokeshire Cruiser Racing Club, he helped revive Dale Weekend. In 2006 Martin become involved in Seafair Haven, which, at the time, attracted a large amount of European Union funding and he was instrumental in making sure that the Seafair Haven festival survived once the European funding was withdrawn. Martin became a trustee of the Tall Ships (Wales) Trust in 2012 and became treasurer until 2016, before handing over to Alexandra Lort Phillips.

Alexandra Lort Phillips


Alexandra Lort Phillips has been a trustee since 2014 when she got involved with the trust to coordinate the Seafair Haven festival, which she continued until 2018.  She is now based in Edinburgh where she runs a theatre company Yard Heads and remains interested in the activities of Tall Ships (Wales) Trust due to her family connections with Pembrokeshire and former career in youth justice and voluntary early interventions.  Alexandra is a creative project manager supporting and advocating opportunities for people to connect with heritage and learning through festival, activity and cultural events.

Robert Phillips


Robert went to sea at the age of 16 as a deck cadet with the New Zealand Shipping Company, and started a career at sea on many types of vessel.

After marrying and starting a family, he stayed in the Home and Near Continental trades, culminating with ten years as Master with UK Dredging keeping docks and approach channels clear for shipping around the UK and near continental coasts.

He is very keen to help young people to have a taste of life at sea. He is also currently chairman of The West Wales Maritime Heritage Society, and likes to promote our maritime heritage.

Phil Davies


Phil Davies has lived in Pembrokeshire all of his life and has been involved in sailing for as long as he can remember. Phil first got involved in the organisation of Seafair Haven in 2012 when he was Sailing Commodore of Lawrenny Yacht Club and since then has organised the on water activities for the sail and oar fleet based at Lawrenny. Phil currently sails a Westerly Merlin which is berthed in Milford Haven Marina.

Nicholas Sawyer


Nick is a retired Forensic Scientist and now devotes his time to bringing tall ships to West Wales in general, and Aberaeron in particular, and raising the profile of the genre to benefit coastal communities.

2007 saw the bicentenary of Aberaeron harbour and an event which inspired Nick to begin exploring the local maritime heritage of local shipbuilding by launching a project to acquire a Welsh Topsail Schooner for the town, reminiscent of similar vessels built by his wife’s ancestors. We now await the construction of a protective breakwater for this project to reach fruition, with 64 shareholders waiting in the wings to fund a ship.

Nick was asked by the Cymru-Ohio 2018 celebration organisation to charter a tall ship to illustrate the type of vessel boarded by six local families in 1818 embarking on an adventure to emigrate to America. The excitement generated at the celebrations has evidenced the demand for such a vessel to be permanently based in Aberaeron.

In the current age of ecological awareness Nick is keen to promote “sail cargo”, developing a network of coastal traditional sail vessels to trade between the Celtic nations surrounding the Irish and Celtic Sea. In 2020 he supported a venture to bring onions and cider from Brittany to Wales, which were greeted with great acclaim by local chefs.

Paula Holt

Tall Ships (Wales) Trust coordinator and fundraiser

I didn’t come from a sailing family nor did I grow up near the coast. At 17, I discovered the Ocean Youth Club and caught the Harwich Boat Train from Manchester Piccadilly to take me to Brightlingsea to join Master Builder and start my sailing adventures. I got off to a promising enough start and crossed the Atlantic in the 1976 STA Tall Ships Race and even completed a Mates Course on the Isle of Wight by my early twenties. But then I seemed to falter. I was too old to carry on in subsidised Sail Training, but hadn’t managed to penetrate the world of ocean sailing with any confidence. I lived inland and had no friends who sailed, so I drifted away for a very, very long time… I never lost my connection to the sea and much, much later I volunteered to help out at Seafair Haven in 2018 and was assigned the role of community engagement with the Tall Ship Johanna Lucretia. This rekindled my enthusiasm for Sail Training and traditional vessels and in 2019 I became the fundraiser and coordinator for the Trust.

Trustees, crew and friends aboard the Johanna Lucretia near Lawrenny, 2021