Reflecting on our experiences

Reflecting on our experiences

to do

Mon, 15th May 2017
Vicky Barraud

Posted by Vicky on 15th May 2017.

As I sit here with my morning coffee and listen to the rain on the coach roof there is one definite thing missing, noise and young people! For the last 40 days Helen Mary R has had 8 young people aboard whilst we completed our #ASPIRE360 UK Circumnavigation. ASPIRE360 saw us travel 1777 nautical miles and visit many amazing places around our coastline whilst we sailed west-about around the UK.

I am so very proud of the young people who embarked 6 weeks ago; they came aboard as individuals and left as a family. They gained skills they never thought they had and learnt they CAN achieve anything they put their minds too. Some had sailed a little before but most had never sailed at all!

The first hurdle was putting away all the food aboard, or in nautical speak; stowing the victuals. This rapid immersion into 'nautical speak' meant that the young people had to start learning almost immediately, in fact our first leg to Milford Haven from Plymouth was the probably the hardest. Bow, Stern, Halyard, Yankee Sheet, Topping Lift, Mizzen etc. were all new and foreign terms thrown at them immediately. It may seem a nightmare but the young people were like sponges, they soaked it all up and came back for more! By the end of the adventure, they were using these terms as naturally as their own language, they were able to hoist sails, reef and steer with minimal guidance. They had transitioned into sailors!

It's amazing how well they can learn in this environment, not only about themselves but academically too. Our rich and amazing coastline set the stage for the young people to learn about history, geography, maths, physics and much more. A simple discussion about sail trim and balance becomes a talk about centres of lateral resistance and lift, which leads to aeroplane wings and technology. Shelter and smooth water becomes a talk about islands giving a lee from the wind and katabatic winds from the mountains of Scotland.

Sail Training has the ability to educate and build not only young people, but the volunteers we take with us (read here). It is a medium that allows a young person to explore in an organic and person centred way, not at all like our current education system's way of preparing for exams. By allowing the young person to experience, experiment and make mistakes allows everyone to benefit, we all learn.

I finished the voyage by telling the young people that they can achieve anything they put there minds too, and I truly believe it.

Fair winds,


Do you want to sail on your own adventure? Why not look at our voyage schedule here and book a place today!

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