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5. Beginning of the Physical renovations for Island Reach!

Updated: Feb 4

Mechanical servicing complete - beginning of the physical renovations for Island Reach!

Sea Trial Complete

Over these last few months in Conwy, the engine and all mechanical systems of Island Reach have been overhauled, serviced and repaired.

It was on April 3rd that the local crew took her to sea for a trial of all the work that had been done and the reports came back positive! Jeremy the skipper was particularly thankful for the auto-pilot which held a true line for the voyage.

Some small adjustments were noted but the engineer and the captain were more than happy with the results of the various tests that took place on the day.

Summary of the sea trial:

  • Main engine started / ran fine. Electrics need research

  • New engine room fans very powerful

  • Clean hull and prop produced a vibration free eco cruising speed of 7 kts

  • With generator consumption around 40 litres per hour

  • Both 360 v & 24 v hydraulic helm pumps working well

  • Auto pilot very responsive and holds a straight course

  • Both radars now functioning well and no need to replace

  • Depth sounder now clean and accurate

  • Chart plotter working well but lacks coastal detail

  • Anchor winch works but still needs further servicing

Steel Transformation Begun

Perhaps the largest stage in renovation for the ship is the steel work and transformation of the holds which will house the medical units as well as the addition of four twin cabins to increase the accommodation for medical and support staff.

On April 25th the crew sailed her from Conwy, up the Manchester ship canal and the River Weaver to Acton Bridge where this work can take place. It was such a joy to be part of this crew with Emma, we had a scheduled watch from 4am through 8am and both of us were up and on the bridge with enthusiasm. Meeting the crew and working alongside them - cooking them breakfast and being part of the team gave us a real feel of what it will be like working on the rivers and canals in Madagascar, it was a beautiful experience!

Over the next six weeks some of the most significant changes physically will take place and we look forward to showing you photos of the end result. You can follow the weekly progress on our YouTube channel if you would like to see the gradual changes.

Summary of plans for steel work:

  • strip the foredeck of her hatches

  • cut a doorway to connect hold one & two together

  • accept delivery of the two accommodation sections and new deck covering.

  • split the holds into sections for surgical units

  • refit the access steps.

  • separate units with 4x3 tread timber posts with marine ply cladding followed by hygienic wall covering.

  • fit floor with liftable ply panels to allow storage of medical supplies in the bilge compartments.

  • remove the deck crane and explore options of mounting on the aft deck or selling it to the highest bidder.

We offer a HUGE thank you to all the volunteers and donators who have been involved in large and small ways for the purchase and transformation of the ship Island Reach, the donation of time and resources as well as the wealth of experience which we have received in these last months has been amazing.

Bringing Hope and Healing to the Nations

Madagascar is not an easy country to work in, with great challenges to provide medical services both in land and around the coast. The Mercy Ministries team who have been providing free medical services for 15 years believe the vessel will greatly improve their ability to reach isolated communities and help them provide better health care.

The Planned Conversion

The plan is to turn the aft hold into a dental suit, GP consultation area, pharmacy, and medical supply storage. The forward hold will be converted into an eye examination and surgery unit.

Above the holds, the hatches will be removed and plated over. There medical staff accommodation will be built, being four, twin berth cabins, plus extra shower, and toilet facilities. Above that will be awnings, where a canopy can be erected providing a waiting area for patients and recreation area for crew and staff during off times. YWAM Ships Switzerland exists to serve in the most isolated and disadvantaged french speaking islands


Is now complete! Celebrate with us - we have purchased the ship.


We are amazed at the generosity of people who have provided so far all that we need for the renovations. A HUGE thank you!

We have volunteer crews for the 8,000-mile delivery voyage, through the Mediterranean, Suez, Red sea and down the Indian Ocean to Madagascar. We also have experienced marine volunteers staying after delivery to get the ministry going and helping to train future local crews.

We are currently in need of finances for fuel and port fees for the delivery voyage to Madagascar


After pioneering this ministry to Madagascar, we estimate we will need to raise £70,000 per year vessel running costs. We will be able to provide free medical services to around 100,000 patients per year.

Please contact us:

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