Students return from tall ship adventure

SEAFARING young adventurers have returned in ship shape fashion after a voyage of discovery on the high seas.

An able crew of Year 9 students from The King’s Academy, Coulby Newham, dropped anchor at Spillers Wharf, on Newcastle Quayside following a nine-night passage to Ostend on the British brig-rigged tall ship Stavros S Niarchos.

The young sailors formed part of a crew of 27 pupils along with fellow students from sister ESF school, Emmanuel College, in Gateshead.

The annual adventure, on the 60m vessel operated by the Tall Ships Youth Trust, aims to support students’ personal development through being a crew member and playing an active part of life on board ship.

Head of girls’ PE Lyndsey Henry, who accompanied the students on the expedition, said:

I was part of the crew on last year’s voyage so it’s great to be actually leading the trip this year.

“All of the students have loved the whole experience. It has been wonderful watching them grow day by day, learning new skills and pushing themselves out of their comfort zones.

“For some of them this was their first time away from home and they have really adapted well to life on a ship, have made lasting friendships and returned home with a real sense of achievement.”

After boarding the vessel at the West Indies Dock, in London’s Canary Wharf, the young crew shared in on board duties including helming, scaling the 50 metre masts, setting and stowing the sails, navigating, scrubbing the decks, cooking for fellow shipmates and night watches on the bridge.

King’s Academy student Chloe Shorten also took the opportunity to begin training for her START yachting award, the first step on the ladder for young sailors.

Abigail Pountain, 14, of Middlesbrough, said:

This is the first time that I’ve been on a boat and it really has been a once in a lifetime experience. I was worried about missing my parents and being sea sick but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

“The night watches were fun, I’ve made lots of new friends and even though it was hard work at times. I’d love to do it all again.”

Jack Duffield, 14, of Middlesbrough, added:

My parents were in the sea cadets when they were younger so they encouraged me to come on the trip.

“At first I was reluctant but friends who had been on the ship last year said it was the best thing they’d ever done – and they were right!

“I’ve loved learning to haul, helping out in the mess and making new friends and I’m really glad that my parents talked me into it.”