The trip was not without its mishaps. The Parade of Sail had to be cancelled and the start of the race delayed because of bad weather. Adverse winds at Land’s End led to a decision to withdraw from the race in search of better winds off Brittany. Sea-sickness, heat stroke, lost luggage. And the minibus back from Heathrow broke down.
However, to judge by their comments on their return, none of this spoiled venturers’ enjoyment of what they considered an amazing experience.
Here’s what they said about it.
“The tall ships voyage has been the most incredible experience I have ever had and it will be something that will stay with me for life. It has allowed me to meet so many amazing people and learn so much about myself. This trip has made me now understand the person I want to be and what I want to spend my life doing and I can’t thank you enough for giving me that.”
“This was an experience that I would never have thought would be possible for me and it was all thanks to your sponsorship. My Grandma found this for me and encouraged me to apply and she was very happy when I got back to find out I’d fallen in love with the ocean after being so afraid of it for so long, to the point of now considering a career in the Royal Navy.”
“I have learnt a whole range of new skills including: helming the boat, putting up new sails, repairing sails, navigating, how to plot on the map, log booking, radio communication and even what the different lights are on boats which tell you what direction they are going during the night.
I feel inspired to do more sailing because of this trip and I have also learnt I am really resilient during rough weather conditions.”
“I could never have imagined I could be part of the Tall Ships race until Truro College put my name forward. I’ve gained so much from this journey, including making friends, being more independent and making decisions I have never had to do. I was able to help another shipmate when she suffered heatstroke and was taken to hospital, and we have been keeping in touch since. It’s something I will remember and talk about for the rest of my life.”
“I feel honoured to have been selected for this experience and it has quite honestly altered the course of my life, because it literally and metaphorically broadened my horizons. It made me realise that there is more to see and explore and that there is a chance to connect with people from all over the world through sailing. The best part was probably seeing a pilot whale for the first time and seeing bioluminescent dolphins.”
“It was one of the best weeks of my whole life. Seeing bioluminescent dolphins, breeching pilot whales and galaxies of stars at night was breathtaking. I made amazing friends within the crew. Challenges such as seasickness and night watches brought us closer together. It was especially nice to spend time without signal and social media. I have learnt a lot about myself. I am soon heading north for my first year of medical school. This voyage will give me the confidence for that next adventure. I also think I am now hooked on sailing for life.”
“I can’t express how a little over a week has given me such a big insight into who I am as a person and who I want to become, because there’s so much to the Tall Ship Race that I never imagined experiencing. Being surrounded by nothing but open water has an immense way of bonding people, away from external pressures, and I deeply want to thank you for allowing me to experience the excitement of sailing in a time where I’ve really needed to connect to people my age.”
“I’ve made some lifelong friends and memories, grown immeasurably in confidence and found the ability to be more independent and have the belief that I can do whatever I put my mind to. My favourite part has to be between a sunrise swim on our last morning at sea, seeing bioluminescence and being escorted by a pod of glowing dolphins on a night watch.”
“We all had a really great time and I learned so much about sailing, both the work and the lifestyle, and it was an incredible chance to make new friendships with the other voyagers. We saw lots of marine life as well like dolphins, whales, and what we thought were flying fish! The whole trip was full of exciting new experiences for me and I feel so privileged to have been given the chance to participate.”
“I had such an amazing time and experienced a lot of things which I will never forget, including the views from the boat and bioluminescent dolphins. It helped me adopt many skills such as teamwork, communication and time management whilst both on and off watch.”
“I loved having Maybe’s sails hoisted, and learning to trim huge sails was sometimes challenging because of the power of the wind & direction. Sweating the peak & throat halyards was hard work but I came home feeling much fitter. When we saw land we all cheered but I felt 50/ 50 mixed emotions. Part of me felt happy that we had arrived at our destination but another part of me felt really sad because I loved being on the open ocean with all of my new friends and I didn’t want that to end.”
“I have not only learned how to sail a tall ship but learned how to live in a collective group of young people. The passage was amazing to experience as we had a variety of weather, as one day we would experience a clear day with light breeze, then the next day we would have a lightning storm. Thank you so much for providing me with this opportunity of a lifetime.”
“I had the most wonderful week sailing and learning new skills with a great group of people. It gave me an invaluable insight into life at sea and has inspired me to pursue a career in the Royal Navy. The trip has confirmed how much I love being on the ocean. Night watch and seeing dolphins swimming in bioluminescence was an incredible highlight!”
“I have discovered a love for sailing that I didn’t know I had, while also meeting some amazing people that I am still in contact with now. Having never sailed before I was nervous before we left Falmouth, but we soon settled into a routine and started to really enjoy life on board. Surprisingly I loved the night shifts. Wonderful sunsets and sunrises; clear night skies with no light pollution providing a glorious background to millions of stars like I have never seen!”