11 young persons to come on an adventure under sail on board of training vessel James Cook on Monday 29th August 2022. Like earlier in the summer, the young people had been kindly sponsored through clubs at £620 each.
After finding themselves a bunk and unpacking they congregated around the saloon table to meet the staff and introduce themselves. As the crew they discussed plans for the week and due to the weather forecast decided to sail to Blyth in the evening and then sail southwards the following day.
After lunch they took part in the safety briefs including the heads (toilets) brief, the galley (kitchen) brief, how to wear and use the lifejackets and safety lines, the use of winches and emergency procedures. The crew were put into 3 watches (teams). The watch that is ‘on’ manages the boat, the ‘stand by’ watch helps when necessary and cooks the meals and the ‘off’ watch have a rest. The boat was prepared for sea and after leaving the marina through the lock they headed down the river towards the sea. The crew hoisted the main sail and due to light winds they motor sailed to Blyth where they berthed at Commissioners Quays.
In the evening the group discussed the plans for Tuesday and decided to sail to Hartlepool. There is a tidal gate at Hartlepool Marina so it is only possible to enter or leave near the high water time, so they were all involved in the passage plan. How long would it take to sail there and when they needed to leave Blyth. Everybody went to bed at 11pm and fell asleep straight after a bedtime story.
An early start and after breakfast they prepared the boat for sea and casted off at 9 am. It was a nice morning with NE breeze so they hoisted the sails and practiced the skills they had learnt. It was a good teamwork. They headed South. The weather was favourable but the sea wasn’t completely calm and some of the crew were sick. At 17:30 they berthed at Hartlepool Marina. The crew had a chance to go to showers while the dinner was cooked. After dinner they had a debrief on the days activities and an opportunity to update their diaries.
On Wednesday James Cook left Hartlepool before breakfast. Dolphins came close to the boat as soon as they left the marina and headed towards Scarborough having breakfast on the way.
Wednesday was the day when the individuals that arrived on board on Monday started to form a group: chatting with each other, supporting each other enjoying being on board with others.
The plans for Thursday included sailing to Whitby, learning activities, cleaning the boat and exploring Whitby. To fit all the plans in a single day the early start was planned leaving Scarborough at morning high water. They left Scarborough at 5am, hoisted the sails and sailed to Whitby having breakfast on the way. After arrival at Whitby at 9.30 am all the crew spent an hour cleaning the boat. Keeping the boat clean and tidy is an essential part of the experience, and everybody is involved. The jobs were allocated, and every crew member had his or her own bit to be cleaned.
After cleaning they completed some of the training for their Royal Yachting Assocation (RYA) Start Yachting certificate. After lunch they had time to go ashore and explore Whitby. In the evening plans are made for Friday and the return journey back towards the River Tyne.
On Friday James Cook left Whitby in the morning and on the way back north they saw a Minke whale.
Saturday morning was devoted for the end of voyage cleaning of the boat, de-brief and feedbacks.
Through the week course the separate young individuals became a very good crew demonstrating teamwork and caring about each member. They’ve learnt a lot about the boat, sails, meteorology, safety at sea. Everybody took part in cleaning, cooking and sailing the boat.
Some feedback from the crew:
Sophie: When taking the helm I went out of my comfort zone. The best part of the experience was sailing from one place to another, it gives you a feeling of freedom. Seastaff were happy to explain and I had an understanding what’s going on.
Ellen: The best bit was sitting at the bow in the sunshine. I made lots of friends.
Joseph: I’ve enjoyed helming and learned how to do a log entry and plot the position on the chart.
Pippa: the best bits are sailing to Scarborough with all the sails up and watching a whale on the way back.
Callum: I didn’t expect that I can talk to new people, people that I din’t know properly before. Helming was the thing that I couldn’t imagine I can do. Watching dolphins and a whale were the best bits.
Eilidh: I wanted to talk to other people, I’m not good at it. I did it. The new thing that I’ve never thought I can do was being a part of the crew sailing such a big boat.
Haleema: Everything was new. I’ve liked the the whole thing, being at sea is very calming though the helming was stressful for me.
Dean: Best bits were Lucas pineapple ‘show’ and when I’ve caught a fish
Michael: I can’t think of any worst bit