Rona Sailing Project June 2010

Names (Left to right):

Top row: Leon (RSP staff), Jack Gordon (MBS), James Brownfield (MBS), Cat Knowles (MBS Staff), Francesca Walton (Bolitho),

Middle row: Gabby Hook (HDS), Tom Owen (Bolitho), Amy Fitter (Bolitho), Molly Noble (MBS), Lauren Williams (MBS), Angelica Grigorjeva (MBS),

Bottom row: Charlie Watson (MBS), Joe Patching (Bolitho), Elicia Ridley (MBS)

In June this year Students from Mounts Bay, Bolitho and Humphry Davy had the fantastic opportunity to spend a week sailing with the Southampton based Rona Sailing Project, which has been taking young people to sea in large ocean yachts since it was founded in 1960.

Through a combination of charitable fundraising and use of fully-trained volunteer Skippers and Officers the Rona Project are able to offer a life changing lesson in teamwork and adventure to those who would not normally be able to access such an experience.

The Students aged 14-17 spent 6 days aboard the Rona II, a 20.5 metre yacht with a 26 metre high mast, built in 1990 the Rona II has already crossed the Atlantic four times! Over the 6 day voyage, students had the chance to sail across the channel to Cherbourg in France, down to the Channel Islands stopping at Guernsey, Alderney and Sark to have a well earned swim, take in the sights and have a barbecue onboard, before finally returning across the channel by night to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight.

Students completed 4 hour shifts in rotation to steer the large and powerful yacht under full sail, navigating using the latest satellite system, hoisting the sails and preparing meals for their 16 hungry crew-mates! Everyone worked extremely hard and gained a real sense of achievement and responsibility, realizing their potential and learning that the real key to success on board was teamwork. It was fantastic to see each student’s confidence grow as the week progressed.

The student’s hard work was rewarded by the Skipper at the end of the week, when every member gained either a Scott or Amory award for having been useful members of the crew, for giving of their best and for proving themselves to be keen and reliable members of the team. These awards enable students to take part in further offshore sailing with the project and the Amory award allows students to put their names forward as candidates for the famous European and Trans-Atlantic Tall Ships Races, a real achievement for any young person.

The ‘Experience of a Lifetime’ becomes a lifetime’s experience as those with leadership potential have the opportunity to gain qualifications to become Watch Leaders. From here if they want to continue sailing with the project they can give something back to society, becoming Watch Officers, then Mates and ultimately Skippers.