During October half term 9 young people from BYPC went on a sailing adventure with the Cirdan Trust. This was able to happen thanks to some funding from the Youth Strategy Group. The Cirdan Trust provides disadvantaged young people with the opportunity for self-development from the experience of living and working on large sailing boats.
We set off from Braintree on the Saturday and travelled by a minibus to Ipswich port, which was going to be our home for the next 3 days. Yes, that’s right 3 days! Due to the St Jude storm we were unable to sail until the storm had passed as the waves were hitting 11m out in the sea, not a very safe idea!
The first few days we spent getting to know each other on the boat, learning new skills such as knots and boat terminology. There was also a chance to learn how to row. All the young people had a go at rowing and did a great job, not one of them fell in! When the day finally arrived to sail the young people were all excited to get out on the sea (although they weren’t keen on the 5.30am get up!). The plan was to sail along the river Stour and the river Orwell over the next couple of days. They were all split into groups, where they were either on watch, clean up or relaxing. This was a great opportunity for the young people to mix up and to make new friends. If the teams were on watch they were helping out on the deck with putting sails up, keeping an eye out for other boats and buoys, steering the boat amongst other tasks that might needed to be undertaken. They soon realised that it was going to be hard work whilst standing in the cold and getting splashed at by the waves, although they all enjoyed it! On day 6 of the trip we anchored down near Mersea beach for a time to get off the boat, relax on the boat, play team games and toast marshmallows over a fire. This was a great time for all the young people and it was really good to see them enjoying themselves and interacting with other people that they had met over the week.
Over the trip, we managed to sail 127 miles which was a great achievement considering no-one on the trip had sailed before. When we asked the young people what their highlights were they said ‘I liked all the new skills I learnt and the opportunities that I got to have’, ‘Talking with friends and having a laugh as well as climbing things’ and ‘climbing the mast’ amongst a few. This trip was a life changing trip for all who went on it and an experience that will stay with them for a lifetime.