Ocean Youth Trust Sailing Trip

In June, Debbie Appleton, Youth Worker and 9 young women from WYC with Ocean Trust sailed out of North Shields Royal Quays Marina, heading up to Amble and on to the Farne Islands on a 70ft Tall Ship.

The original plan had been to then sail to Imouth, however due to a storm there was a readjustment and the crew headed south to Blythe, before returning to North Shields 5 days later.

All 10 from WYC were a working crew onboard, supported by two Ocean Youth Trust staff members and the Skipper.

Along the way they saw Puffins, Seals, many birds and were guided home on two occasions by Dolphins – which was in the words of Debbie were ‘quite amazing!’

None of the crew had sailed before and therefore everyone had to learn new skills and dug deep to find the strength to cope under pressure. They were taught how to navigate, chart the journey, to Helm the ship, work with the sails and got stuck in to carry very heavy ropes, moor up and set sail duties, clean the boat from top to bottom, prepare and cook meals. In addition, they took part in emergency drills including the man overboard procedure, how to use the life belts and how to initiate a rescue. Everyone had to take turns at keeping watch as there were many dangerous lobster pot lines that had to be spotted.

Debbie Appleton commented: “Everyday was exhausting, the chores started as soon as lights up sounded and ended when lights out was called. There was perhaps only ten minutes free time each day. However, the camaraderie between everyone on board especially at times of high stress due to severe weather conditions was superb, it was an experience of a lifetime”

There was no home contact for most of each day and only for a short space at time late at night to say hi, and most days no internet coverage. This coupled with the fact there was nowhere to escape when feeling stressed was a challenge to all, however jobs had to be done no matter how tired, hungry or emotional anyone was.

Skipper had very strict rules, and for some of the members this wasn’t something they were used to, but they did adapt, and the team worked together and helped rally each other along giving support especially if someone wasn’t feeling well.

Debbie continues; “There were many challenges for us all, being homesick, sea sick, limited menu choices, and coping in a confined space. Everyone had their own complex needs, and some members needed more support than others, but we still had to gel as a team and they did – a true credit to themselves, their families and Warrington Youth Club.”

For more information on the WYC Girls Group contact Debbie on Debbiea@warringtonyouthclub.co.uk or go to our Seniors Youth Club page