Navigating the waves – YAT crew set sail with The Island Trust

May half term saw 12 intrepid YAT young people set off on the adventure of a lifetime; a week-long voyage around the South West coast on board the impressive tall ship, Johanna Lucretia. This was a first not only for the young people, but for the Youth Adventure Trust who were offered this incredible opportunity by The Island Trust just a few months earlier. The young people hailed from across Wiltshire and ranged from 14 – 17 years of age, all of them having previously participated in one or more of YAT’s programmes. 

When offered the opportunity each young person jumped with impressive adventurous spirit at the chance to experience life at sea on such a historical ship, although as the trip approached a degree of trepidation took hold alongside their excitement. Who else would be there? Would they get seasick? What would they eat? Where would they sleep? Would they fall off the boat? Thankfully their previous experiences with YAT had provided them with plenty of resilience, a challenge mindset, and the self belief that they could handle what lay ahead, despite any worries they may have.

“My experiences with YAT prepared me for the trip because I got used to throwing myself into things that scared me a bit.” Jordan, age 16

“YAT had helped me because of going away for a week, trying something new, making more friends and giving me more confidence” Cara, age 15

On the day the group were to set sail they travelled with YAT staff to the marina in Plymouth. As the sea came into sight the excitement was palpable amongst the group. For some this was the furthest away from home they would have been, and for most the first time on a ship. As they made their way along the marina, there were many gasps as the impressive Johanna Lucretia came into view and they realised this would be their home for the week. The group received the warmest of welcomes from the crew, who gave them a tour of the ship and helped them settle into their cabins. As YAT staff departed the group were already immersing themselves in ship life and any anxieties appeared to be melting away. 

“The crew were so nice and so funny. Emily braided my hair for me. Dan always had something to joke about. Lucy always knew what to do if we got stuck. Eve was always there to have a laugh. 10/10 to all of them!” Lilly, age 14

During their week the young people were responsible for all aspects of life on board; from helming and navigation, getting the sails up and rowing ashore, to cooking, cleaning and tidying. They sailed an impressive 135 miles during their voyage in a variety of weather conditions. Alongside their essential duties there were also ample opportunities for games, singing, exploring coastal towns and, the stand out moment for many, dolphin watching.  

When we collected them at the end of the week there was a real buzz amongst the now established group on the journey back to Wiltshire as they recounted stories from their week, sharing favourite moments and their newly acquired sailing knowledge.

“My favourite memories are eating round the table, going on the bow sprit and seeing dolphins and steering the boat.” Jamie, age 15

“The most memorable moments for me were singing, seeing dolphins and just the fun moments like trying to cook when we were moving and everything was going everywhere!” Emma, age 16

“It was really fun. We worked the sails and it felt like a big family. We all got on really well and I liked the games we played.” Harleigh, age 16yrs

We are immensely grateful to The Island Trust  for providing our young people with this hugely impactful experience. It was evident that so much care and thought went into making everything run so smoothly, and providing such a positive and rewarding experience for them all. Our thanks extend to everyone who made this trip possible through their generous financial donations.

We are extremely impressed with our young people for taking on the challenge and wholeheartedly embracing the unknown, evidencing how they are continuing to live our programme aims in their lives during and after their time with YAT;

 The Youth Adventure Trust Programmes aim to help young people:

  • Develop increased resilience, self-confidence and self-esteem.
  • Improve social interaction, communication and team cooperation skills; learn to value others, understand differing views and perspectives, overcome difficulties and work together.
  • Develop self-reliance and independence; learn to take responsibility, make good choices and take ownership of their decisions.
  • Learn to challenge themselves, reflect and develop goal setting skills.
  • Gain a broader outlook, expand scope of experience, increase aspirations.
  • Develop appreciation for the outdoor environment.

A huge congratulations to all the young people taking part, we are very proud of you!