9 apprentices, 2 staff members, and a very big boat! (The Tall Ships experience)


On Tuesday 10th to Saturday 14th April, nine of our Youth Work Apprentices and two staff members (Jamie and Amma) set sail from Portsmouth harbour on a 72ft challenger yacht for an adventure of a lifetime that would put them all to the test!

Read Jamie and Timon’s account of the Tall Ships experience here…


The Tall Ships week put us all to the test. Sailing is incredibly physical so we were using muscles we didn’t know we had; the living quarters were incredibly cosy, and we were very much on top of each other all week with no way of escape.

We were split into two watches taking turns to either cook or wash up, cleaning the heads (toilets) and making sure that the boat was cleaned from top to bottom each morning. Each watch took turns in preparing the boat to sail, hauling sails up out of the sail locker and onto the deck, and sweating the sail up the huge 90ft mast whilst trying not to be sick.

We learnt a whole host of sailing techniques and skills including tying knots, plotting sailing routes, navigating at night, man-over-board rescues and taking the helm. There were a few fun challenges thrown in there as well such as dinghy races in a harbour and climbing the very high 90ft mast.

Chicken debates, tension and snoring

The different cooking methods within the team threw up the first problem. Debates flared up as to whether we should wash the chicken before cooking it and then how we should season it. We learnt very quickly that we all had different cooking methods and learning to be patient with each other and compromise was the first port of call.

Tensions grew as the week went on and the snoring got louder. Being in such proximity to each other was a huge test that we all patiently passed. Team work took the lead as the watches looked after each other and made sure that they supported each other in all the jobs that needed doing.

Team work triumph

I was proud of the apprentices and of seeing their strengths shine through as the week got tougher and tougher. The willingness to clean the toilets in a rather turbulent sea, which saw even the sharpest shooter easily miss and make a mess, was outstanding.

Compromising on bedtime for the good of the others on board was another positive, and even when they felt like giving up, they turned round got back on board and continued to work with their team.

It was a tough week for all involved, both physically and emotionally. We learnt a lot about each other and looked after each other.

There were some incredible highs – watching the team plot and navigate the boat around buoys’ in the middle of the night was certainly one of them. There were definitely more ups than downs in what was an incredible adventure for us all.

Timon’s account

I’ve never been on a ship before so I didn’t really know what to expect from the Tall Ships trip. I like the sea so I was looking forward to going.

One of the best parts of the trip was going to the beach on a hot day. We docked at Weymouth, had fish and chips for dinner, and then during free time a few of us walked along the beach and then went back to the boat for 10pm for the bed time curfew.

The worst part of the trip was having to go to bed early at 11pm and wake up at 7am the next day!

I would go through the Tall Ships experience again. It was really fun; the weather was great; I liked going with all the apprentices and Jamie and Amma – we all got on well and it gave us the chance to get to know each other some more. Oh and we all passed the ship qualifications!

Jamie Anglesea

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