The s/y Ruach is scheduled to depart on Wednesday, September 13th, at 11:15 am from Queen’s Wharf to sail to Papua New Guinea (PNG) to deliver vital health care services to remote areas of the country. YWAM Ships Newcastle plans to deliver primary health care, optometry, dentistry, vaccinations, and medical education. Medical equipment specially designed for aid in remote villages will be on board. 

Arriving in February of this year, the s/y Ruach has been an iconic feature in the harbour with its twin masts, traditional rigging, and 37-meter hull. Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes hosted a civic reception to receive the vessel by thanking the donors on behalf on the city. The s/y Ruach was formally invited to be an ambassador for the city by the Mayor’s office in July.

An official presentation was held on Wednesday 23rd August 2017, to present they s/y Ruach and YWAM Ships Newcastle with a key to the city.

“When David first came to me and told me about the very kind donation of the Ruach and the fact that its home port was going to be in the City of Newcastle,” said Cr Nelmes, “I was so pleased and so proud to be part of a community that had such welcoming, open arms to help other people.”

David Stephenson, Managing Director for YWAM Ships Newcastle, is thrilled to be serving the people of Papua New Guinea as Newcastle City Ambassadors through the ship’s delivery of essential healthcare. 

“With such strong medical infrastructure and services here in Australia, we have a great opportunity to collaborate with the government and people of Papua New Guinea in delivering quality healthcare,” Mr Stephenson said.

The s/y Ruach inspired many in the city through public tours in May and it’s stunning presence at Queen’s Wharf.

Peter Crawford, a local Novocastrian, heard about the s/y Ruach through a mutual friend and has been volunteering several days a week since February. He wanted to engage in meaningful work in communities that was more than just tourism and a few photos. Peter has personally volunteered over 500 hours to get the ship ready to sail by assisting with designing and installing an awning over the deck, making mooring line protectors and installing fly screens for the hatches, to name a few areas. 

“I began helping with watches in February then just started coming in three days a week to help out – sometimes six days a week. I’m recently retired, so I have a bit more time and am happy to be directing it towards this effort. Medical work and sailing are things I’ve always been interested in and the Ruach brings both those together for me. It ticks all the boxes.”

During the City Ambassadors presentation, Cr Nelmes agreed that the s/y Ruach represents more than just YWAM Ships Newcastle. “It is a fantastic honour to be able to stand here today, to acknowledge the work of YWAM, but to also acknowledge the fact that we have the Ruach and it is Newcastle’s ship.”

The vessel will be deployed in Papua New Guinea for the rest of the year to begin initial collaboration with the region. We look forward to offering a combination of marine training and medical delivery beginning this year before developing these services more fully into 2018.