A week to remember for sailing teens

The Tall Ships Youth Trust provided a sailing experience from Portsmouth to Blyth this week.
The Tall Ships Youth Trust provided a sailing experience from Portsmouth to Blyth this week.

The Tall Ships programme has been giving young people an opportunity to experience life on the water.

A group of teenagers made up most of the crew on the Challenger 3 boat that sailed from Portsmouth to Blyth over the past week.

The five-day journey included docking periods in Cowes and Hartlepool and it was a challenging start as the wind was 40 knots. The ship reached Northumberland on Thursday.

These sailing trips are provided by the Tall Ships Youth Trust. Bursaries are available to young people from across the country.

As well as fund-raisers and proceeds from adult voyages, money for the youth voyages is donated individual sponsors.

Becky Tweedale, 17, was one of the teenagers on-board. This was her first time sailing.

She said: "I was looking to do something memorable this summer and I stumbled across the Tall Ships Youth Trust sailing opportunities online.

"I'm so glad that I signed up because it has been an amazing experience and I've learnt so much in a short space of time.

"I felt awful at first because it was so rocky and I had to get used to the watch system of being asleep for four hours then awake for four hours as we sailed through the night.

"I didn't realise that the crew also chipped in with cooking and cleaning, but once I got used to it, I found being on-board very enjoyable.

"I made some new friends and we were able to play some fun games when we docked. It has also been useful to develop the hand signal communication skills and learning the sailing terms."

The Doncaster resident added that she has got the taste for it and will be part of a crew on a boat from Southampton to Brixham in Devon next week.

Adult Kirstie Rowe, mate on board Challenger 3, said: "The youngsters were quiet at the start of the journey, but they soon became more confident and being in such a close environment helped them to talk to each other, and now they are very chatty.

"Some of them have been recommended for watch leader and assistant watch leader positions so they can help other youngsters who are giving sailing a try on future voyages."

For more information about voyages with the Tall Ships Youth Trust, visit tallships.org