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Tall ship 'survivors' tell tales of their sea adventures

by Sail-World Cruising on 15 Jan 2011
Youth crew at work .. .

Tall ship adventures are popular all over the world and come in all shapes and sizes, but the theme is the same: They combine fantastic adventures in (somewhat) controlled circumstances with an incredible life learning experience. They also occasionally create passionate sailors. Australia's Young Endeavour is one such, and here two 'survivors' tell of their time at sea and what it meant to them:


Full steam ahead for Fadhillah Norzahari:

My first experience in Young Endeavour was three years ago, spending 10 days tacking down the Great Barrier Reef along the Whitsunday Coast from Cairns to Airlie Beach in winter 2007. I gained so much from the voyage that I applied for the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race returnee voyage that same year. I was lucky to be selected and, although more stomach churning than my first voyage, it was a very social experience. It was a thrill to join the famous race and spot the different yachts on the way to the Bass Strait.

However this was only the beginning of my sailing experience...


Since 2007 I have started dinghy sailing with friends from my first Young Endeavour voyage, sailed as a delivery crew from Sydney to Mackay for the Hamilton Island Yacht Race in winter 2008, and sailed in skiffs over summer including the historical 18ft skiff in Sydney Harbour.

I have also been very fortunate to continue my involvement with the Young Endeavour Youth Scheme as a Youth Ambassador. I have sailed on several Half-Day Sails and I volunteered during the week-long APEC Tall Ships Event in 2007.

I also joined Young Endeavour in the tall ships race as part of the King of the Derwent festivities in Tasmania in December 2007, where Young Endeavour was victorious. A few of us later hired a car and travelled around Tasmania for a week and had the time of our lives hiking, swimming, kayaking and cheese-sampling throughout the island.


Another highlight was helping out as an interpreter to the Indonesian Arung Samudera crew with my very limited Indonesian!

Recently, I travelled to South Korea and met up with Toni, a fellow V11/07 and V22/07 alumnus, who is now teaching English in Daegu. In keeping with the adventurous and tall ship theme of our friendship, we hiked up mountainous Chilgok to have dinner in an amazing replica tall ship restaurant perched high on top of a hill, some hundreds of miles away from the nearest coastline!

I am proud to say that I've also made a few good friends that I still regularly talk to and meet. We've had pirate themed reunion BBQ's and I've taken road trips to Dubbo and to Byron Bay with former crew. I also kayaked down the Kangaroo Valley with different collection of fellow crew.

I consider myself very lucky to have been part of Young Endeavour and have met a lot of interesting people from all walks of life from the two voyages.

...........................................

Aravinda Subasinghe trades corporate finance for clews and furling lines:

Very few people would even dream of being able to leave their 9-to-5 job to sail the open waters of Bass Strait in a tall ship. But that’s exactly the opportunity I was given – sailing an eleven day voyage in Young Endeavour in October this year.

At BDO Kendalls, where I work as a consultant in corporate finance, I applied to undertake a voyage in Young Endeavour as part of the company’s leadership development program. I thought it would be a great challenge, offering a personal and professional development opportunity. I was looking to challenge my ability to deal with many different people as a way to prepare myself for future leadership roles. I was also looking forward to the chance to do something completely different.

When the voyage commenced, I felt so far out of my comfort zone. I had never sailed before, and didn’t even know what a sailing ship looked like. I felt there was very little that I could draw from my school or work experiences, as many of the skills from these parts of my life didn’t overlap. I even suffered from seasickness far more than I expected!

Despite these initial adjustments, I can confidently say that my voyage in Young Endeavour exceeded all my expectations.

To learn how a tall ship works, to be actively involved in sailing the ship, and to climb aloft were all amazing experiences. It surprised me that we were able to achieve such a high level of learning in a short space of time. I think we went from a dysfunctional state early in the voyage to the point where we were able to take command of the ship.

Without a doubt the overarching theme from my voyage was fun. It was the mix of people that made the voyage so enjoyable. I had my doubts about how well 20-odd young people would work together in a confined space. I know now that I have made life-long friendships and believe that with the maturity gained on board, each of us will have positions of greater influence in society after the voyage.

...................................
Are you between 16 and 23 years old? Looking for a challenge? Or do you know someone you should pass the word on to?

A voyage aboard Young Endeavour is an awesome experience, and one which will give you skills for life. The Royal Australian Navy crew will teach you how to sail a square-rigged vessel, including how to navigate, keep watch, take the helm, cook in the galley, tie knots, work aloft and even take command.

Not only that, you will develop teamwork, leadership and communication skills, work with disadvantaged youth and meet people from around the country.

To learn more about the activities of the Young Endeavour, go to their www.youngendeavour.gov.au!website

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