On leaving the Royal Navy as a Commander in 1982, Graham Neilson committed his life to the development of youth, through long ocean voyages under sail.
Pelican is Graham's second ship, having previously coverted the hull of the Dutch lugger Astrid into a handsome brig cleared for worldwide operation and dedicated to the service of youth by HRH Princess Anne in 1989.
Astrid completed 16 eventful and trouble-free annual transatlantic voyages, each lasting three months. She would visit up to 12 countries and islands, providing a unique opportunity for exploration and self-learning as part of a wider educational experience.
Her summer schedule in European waters was open to all ages. In spite of "never sailing with an empty berth", her earning capacity (with only 25 berths) proved insufficient to sustain a varied and exciting programme and in 1997 she was sold back to Holland by her trustees.
Learning these lessons from the past and through the fortuitous introduction to Phillip Goode, the superb hull of the Pelican was acquired from Norway and the reconstruction began at Portland in Dorset in 1995.