The 'St Michael's Crew' aboard a Challenger Yacht


In June, the St Michael’s ‘Crew’ - 10 intrepid Year 8 pupils - embarked on a five day voyage aboard a Challenger Yacht with the Tall Ships Youth Trust. The JTYAF was delighted to support this fabulous experience.

Their first night was spent at anchor off Sandown, Isle of Wight and the next morning, the tides and wind were such that they could set sail for France!  During the 10 hour crossing, they worked together to hoist sails, took it in turns to helm, experienced some thunder and lightning in the middle of the Channel and even saw dolphins! 

They spent two nights in Cherbourg which meant that they could really explore the town, have fun practising their French and using Euros and even got time to enjoy themselves on a lovely sandy beach.

The following morning, they hoisted three of the sails and set off back to England.  As France disappeared, they were sailing at about 11 knots, heeling over.  It was exciting sailing!  Whenever they tacked (turned the direction of the boat), everything in the galley (kitchen) slid across the surfaces or the table and the crew’s catching skills were tested!  The gimbal stove swung in rhythm with the boat, they could stand up at ridiculous angles.  It was great fun! 

The crew kept each other’s spirits up on the long passage home, with songs and dance routines. 

At last they could see the Isle of Wight and it was an amazing sight to sail up to and round The Needles.  After sailing past Hurst Castle and Osborne House, they berthed at Cowes overnight.  Having enjoyed some fun skimming stones at the beach after their long voyage home, they enjoyed their final meal on board, together. 

Early the next morning, they set off back to Portsmouth, tired but with a sense of challenges faced and overcome, new skills learnt and new friendships made.

At the end of their voyage, the crew were asked how this experience might help them to approach things in the future.  Their responses were as follows:

‘This experience will help with making friends, working in a team and being a lot more confident.’

 ‘To persevere even when things are hard.  When I got the opportunity I wasn’t sure but I took it and had the best time.’

 ‘To try new things that I’m not too sure about at the start, and to always take part in challenges.  Some things I achieved were teamwork, cooking, my confidence became stronger, and making everyone feel better when singing.’

 ‘In this experience, I achieved to work as a team even when it was challenging. It has helped me to be more confident in the future.’

 They also sent the JTYAF some personal messages:

 ‘Thank you so much.  Without you, I would not have been able to come on this amazing experience.  I am very grateful.’

 ‘Thank you for giving such an amazing experience and giving up your own time.  I will treasure the memories we shared for ever.’

 ‘Thank you for this wonderful experience.’

 ‘I would say thank you.  I had a really great time and it’s an experience I will never forget and hope they will do it with more schools so they can have the experience I had.’