Grace Heritage Y10

My Sailing Adventure 2021 by Grace Heritage

During my summer holidays, I went on a six day sailing adventure with The Rona Sailing Project. This organisation is a charitable trust which provides sailing adventures for young people, including those with disabilities and mental health issues. I had the unique opportunity to sail with them after successfully securing my place.

My trip began in Southampton, where I boarded the yacht ‘Merrilyn’ and was introduced to the crew mates who would be joining me on this trip. There were 7 girls in total, all aged 14-15, and an adult crew of 6 that included a skipper and two watch leaders. The boat itself was a 62-foot-long ocean-going sailing yacht that took up to 16 people. Once we set sail, my watch leader taught me about the boat and how to carry out certain tasks, such as working the sails, navigation and safety at sea. Our trip took place on the South Coast and during the course of the voyage we visited Cowes on the Isle of Wight, Portland, Weymouth and Swanage.

While on board, all the meals were made from scratch. My crewmates and I were given the responsibility of preparing food for the entire crew. Also, it was up to us to keep the boat clean and tidy, what with there being daily inspections. All areas of the boat had to be kept spotless and we each took it in turns to clean the deck, galley and cabins. We all were given the opportunity to take the helm (steering the boat), working the sails, managing the rigging and being on look out.

On one of the nights, we anchored at Pondfield cove on the Jurassic coast. Owing to being anchored, it was necessary to keep a constant check on the boat. We took it in turns over the course of the night to watch the boat, using a handheld compass to take bearings and verify our position to ensure that the yacht wasn't drifting. While on watch, you were partnered with another crew member, which lasted around 4 hours.

During this trip, I stepped outside my comfort zone and pushed myself to try new things. As a result I was granted the opportunity to return to the project and was awarded The Scott Award for being a reliable member of the crew. Throughout the voyage, I learnt more independence, was able to grow in confidence and develop my skills and knowledge. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my sailing experience, I built some great friendships with my crew members and greatly improved my sailing skills.