This August, 14 young people aged 16 to 18 will depart Falmouth for A Coruna on Tall Ship Maybe, in the first leg of the Tall Ships Races Magellan Elcano 2023.
Some are experienced sailors, while for others this trip will be their first time at sea or away from sight of land. Some come from seafaring families (fishermen, boatbuilders, merchant navy, yacht skippers) and are themselves considering a maritime career. Many are serious about sport: in fact, they’re probably our sportiest crew yet. And at least two say they can’t wait to get away from social media for a few days.
All are looking forward to adventure, to making new friends and to overcoming the challenges presented by crewing, steering and navigating a classic 24-metre gaff-rigged ketch the 430-odd sea miles to Spain.
Here are the members of Team Maybe 2023.
Daisy, aged 17, who’s a student at Bodmin College, is a keen swimmer, surfer and paddleboarder. She says she hasn’t done much sailing, yet has sailed with family and friends in the UK and New Zealand and she took part in the Falmouth Classics in 2022. Being an avid hockey player and committing to a team that plays and trains year-round has helped her teamworking and communication skills.
“I think I will enjoy meeting other like-minded people, as well as learning more about what sailing entails and getting hands-on. My parents met in the marine industry and my Dad spent time skippering and working on yachts of all sizes, including a brigantine, and I love hearing about all the memories. This will be a fantastic opportunity to experience it first-hand.”
A keen rugby player, 17-year-old Daisy Boo has played for the Penryn RFC U15s, successfully trialled for the Exeter College team and been invited to play for the Exeter Chiefs Women’s Rugby Academy. On her father’s side, she descends from a long line of seamen. She believes she has inherited her love of the sea from him and is considering joining the Navy to travel the world.
“This voyage will be an incredible opportunity for me to see what it’s like living on a boat. I think I will enjoy making new friends and experiencing something completely different. I will enjoy learning how to navigate and to control the boat as it’s something I’ve never been able to experience. I will also enjoy pushing my body, as working on a boat can be very challenging and fatiguing.”
17-year-old Ella, who’s studying at Bodmin College, will join Maybe just three months after sailing from Royal Fowey Yacht Club to Fowey Gallants Sailing Club. The two clubs are only a couple of hundred yards apart – but 1,758 nautical miles if you go the long way round in the Aspire360 Round Britain Challenge, which is what she did with Morvargh Sailing Project. Ella hopes her experience of this voyage will help bring the crew closer together
“My passion for sailing is stronger than ever. The sea is my happy place, so any time spent there I enjoy. I love meeting new people and creating friendships. I always want to learn new things and will enjoy finding out more about Tall Ships and how to sail them. One day I hope for a career in marine photography or marine biology, so the wildlife in the sea interests me a lot, especially whales, sharks and dolphins.”
Truro College student Emily, who turns 17 just days before the voyage, will be following in her family’s footsteps, as both her father and her aunt have completed different legs of the Tall Ships race. Growing up in a small fishing village, she has loved the sea all her life.
“I’m always out on the water in boats and helping my Dad with fishing trips. I love the feeling of freedom and, far from shore, the sights and sounds are totally unlike anything else. I know how fragile the oceans have become and how important it is to look after them and reduce the impact we are having on them. I hope to be a trusted crewmate who works hard and always gives my best.”
Erin, 17, has snorkelled with seals and gained a PADI diving qualification. Being born and brought up in Cornwall, the sea has been a constant in her life. She loves being on it and in it, whether fishing or just jumping in and swimming with friends.
“I feel comfortable and confident in the water, but the voyage is a challenge that excites me, because we will be a team at sea navigating to another country. As a team we will be making the voyage possible ourselves – rather than catching the ferry! I love the fact that we will also learn all aspects of crewing a sailing ship. This experience could open new opportunities for me, which is what I need at the moment.”
Ethan, who’s 16 and studying at The Roseland Academy, has never sailed before. He confesses a slight fear of the vastness of the ocean but says he would love to overcome it.
“My dearest ambition is to see the world and travel. Having experiences like this on a Tall Ship working and learning new skills will prepare me for this. Fishing and navigating by the stars will be amazing. When I’m older, I would love to own my own boat. I’ve been to Spain on holidays and appreciate the distance involved. To cover it with the power of the wind would be amazing. I will also enjoy making new friendships and developing social skills in this once in a lifetime opportunity.”
For as long as she can remember, 18-year-old Callywith College student Hannah has sailed dinghies and rowed pilot gigs. She has competed in the Mirror National Championships and did a five-day voyage with Tall Ships Youth Trust in the Solent for her Duke of Edinburgh Award.
“My experience on the sea so far has always been with land in sight, but an ocean voyage like this is something I have always dreamed of completing. I am in awe of the distance that can be travelled by wind in sails. I love life on a boat, especially the routine and the opportunity to be surrounded by nature. There is always so much to learn. I can’t wait to get stuck into such an amazing opportunity on such an amazing boat.”
17- year-old Jacob is a student at Truro College. He first sailed at Gorran, one of the primary school participants in RYST’s Schools Programme. He is looking forward to spending more time at sea.
“I love snorkelling and learning about animals that live in the ocean. On this voyage, I look forward to learning new things, working as a team and improving my communication skills.”
To compete in the Ten Tors Challenge on Dartmoor, 16-year-old Jethro learned how to navigate on land. Now he wants to learn how to navigate at sea.
“I helped to fundraise for the RNLI at school (Penrice Academy) last year and learned a huge amount of respect for the sea and the people who work on it and sail across it. I enjoy teaching myself some basic knots and I’m really interested in using them in a real-world situation and teaching myself more of them. I’d also love to explore how a Tall Ship is run and I’m keen to be part of a voyage and team up with new friends. I have never been to Spain, but I can’t imagine a cooler way to enter the country than on a Tall Ship!”
16-year-old Kiera studied at Brannel school. She loves water but has never sailed before and is looking forward to challenging her limits, as she’s had to in volleyball and in training to be a lifeguard. What started as facing a fear of putting her head under the water as a young girl transformed into diving into the sea fully clothed for lifeguarding practice. Now she wants to meet the challenge of sailing on the ocean.
“Living in Cornwall, the ocean has always played a big role in my life, from lifeguarding to poetry. I think the separation from everyday, trivial issues on social media in exchange for a vivid, communal adventure will make me feel good about myself and will act as a reminder of the challenges that are actually worth embarking on.”
Of all the venturers, the one most likely to take to life aboard Maybe straight away is 16-year-old Lotte. Her home – and her place of learning, as she’s home-educated – is her family’s boat (a gaff-rigged wooden ketch, like Maybe), which she’s lived on since she was nine. Lotte has sailed the East coast to London and from London to Cornwall. She can splice rope and hoist sails. She has her RYA VHF licence. And perhaps most importantly, she’s happy roughing it when she has to.
“I know what it’s like to live off-grid for long periods of time. You don’t always have access to hot water on board, and I’ve washed in cold water even in the depths of winter. I’m also used to living in a really small cabin. I would enjoy sharing my knowledge with my fellow crew if they’re stuck on how to do something. I will enjoy the challenge of crossing the Bay of Biscay and just seeing the sea around me. I love its wildness and the movement of the waves and that it holds the most beautiful creatures.”
Ruby will turn 18 on the second day of the voyage. A keen sailor and sportswoman, who’s finishing a BTec Extended Diploma in Sport at Callywith College, Ruby is looking to pursue a maritime career and considering joining the Royal Navy.
“I’ve grown up by the sea and have always been in and around boats. My grandfather is a retired boat-builder and he has inspired my love of boating and the sea. Having sailed a Mirror dingy to a competitive level I’m keen to undertake a new challenge. This is an amazing opportunity to sail an altogether different boat and be part of a crew who learn and develop experience in rigging, navigating and steering the ship on this epic voyage to Spain.”
16-year-old Skye studied at Brannel School and spends every minute of her spare time in the water: kayaking, surfing, paddleboarding and coasteering with her family.
“I think that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me, and I believe the skills and experience gained from this trip will benefit me throughout my life. As soon as I heard about the voyage, I knew it was something very special and a chance I couldn’t miss. I will enjoy the freedom of being at sea and being one with nature and meeting new people with similar interests to me and making new friends.”
William, 16, studied at Penair School. A keen rugby player, he has often captained his local team, where he sees his role as ensuring positive, can-do attitudes.
“What I love about the sea is the freedom, and being guided by the elements, and mostly being away from all the tech and being in peace and quiet. I’m looking forward to the teamwork on a traditional boat, being at sea, night sails with the stars, learning new skills, making new friends and generally enjoying an amazing new experience.”
Says RYST chairman Dina Wheatcroft: “We wish Team Maybe 2023 all good things in their race to Spain. The Trust organises these trips on Tall Ship Maybe for the post-16 age group as a continuation of our mainstream Schools Programme. The aim is to build young people’s confidence at the start of their adult lives, enabling them to learn new skills and new things about themselves. A huge thank you to our sponsors for funding another voyage we hope will be of enduring benefit to venturers.”