Cowes Enterprise College students are back on dry land following a five-day sailing voyage with Ocean Youth Trust, as part of our 'Maritime Futures' initiative. We are hugely grateful to Ormiston Trust for fully funding such an incredible experience for our students.
The trip began on Wednesday, as students boarded the Ocean Youth Trust ship Prolific and ran through safety briefings before dinner and games. On Thursday, the crew sailed to Osborne Bay to familiarise themselves with the boat before sailing to Yarmouth; learning about sail hoists, winch drills, rope handling, tacking, steering and more. Students also spent time learning how to use a navigational chart before enjoying dinner, more games and a story from watch leaders Tom and Will.
Friday morning was spent ashore, training for the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Start Yachting qualifications. The RYA certificate shows the mastery of some basic sailing skills such as navigation and nautical terminology as well as evidence of transferrable skills; completion requires evidence of listening skills, team work, resilience, organisation and routine tasks such as cooking and cleaning and much more.
In the afternoon, the crew sailed back to Cowes (with gybing practice on the way) to prepare for Saturday's Small Ships Race. The boat had a visit from Marion and Richard Heming who were stalwarts of Ocean Youth Trust South’s local support group on the Isle of Wight.
The Small Ships Race course was was set to be very short as the forecast was for very bad weather in the afternoon, and race organisers wanted to ensure that everyone, especially the smaller boats, would be safely back alongside before the strong winds set in. The bigger, faster boats like Prolific completed the course easily and we ended up doing an extra lap rather than going in too early, while the slower boats completed the race. There was some exciting sailing with the boat reaching at least 10.5 knots at one point.
On Sunday the CEC Crew went out for a short sail and put their navigation planning into practice with, one team taking them to an anchorage and another guiding the boat back again, before cleaning the boat and heading home.
The students completed 68 nautical miles over the course of their voyage, with a maximum wind strength of Force 8 (up to 46mph!) which Ocean Youth Trust described as 'quite an achievement to have been on board in those conditions'.
Ocean Youth Trust said:
They proved to be a resilient group who really put in the effort and coped impressively with challenging weather.
Student highlights from the voyage include:
I think my most memorable part of this whole trip was maybe looking at the stars when you were all on the bean bags and waving to the other boats
My most memorable bit was having, well, getting new friends and getting closer and closer with them.
I think the most memorable bit was the whole experience, for me.
We are so proud of our students for being brave and resilient and for demonstrating such brilliant teamwork.