Last week a group of young people from the Amber Foundation’s Wiltshire centre had the opportunity to do a week’s sailing with the charity Ocean Youth Trust South.
Part of the ethos at Amber is to provide young people with opportunities to develop their confidence and resilience which will help them with dealing with everyday life once they leave Amber. A voyage with the Ocean Youth Trust South is about so much more than learning some sailing skills, the charity is committed to ensuring that young people build confidence, improve their communication and teamwork skills and have to deal with situations in unfamiliar surroundings. These are all skills that employers, families and communities need.
Whilst on board HMS Prolific the young people take part in all activities on board – sail handling, steering, navigation, cooking and keeping watch (including overnight)! The group joined the boat last Wednesday and sailed down to Yarmouth on the first evening, picking up a buoy for the night. On Thursday they sailed to Portland in southerly winds and not the kindest weather – they all did extremely well to stay positive, especially with a 04:30 start for the tide!
After sailing to Poole and enjoying some time ashore on solid, ground, they then sailed back through the Needles Channel on Saturday towards Osborne Bay. This involved some intricate steering from the group in some challenging conditions. Finally, on the Sunday they sailed backed to Southampton having racked up 125 nautical miles over the 5 days.
The skipper commented: “It was clear from the outset that this group were on board to get the most out of the voyage that they could. To develop their skills, learn about a life at sea, support each other as friends, have a fun time. They were collectively polite and engaged and were very supportive of each other. The atmosphere was consistently positive and fun.”
T, one of the young people from Amber commented: “I see now that I don’t need the drugs to feel something good. This has taught me that I should just look around at the sailing and the nature instead. It’s outlook-changing stuff.”
Over the course of the week, all six of the young people on board earned their RYA Start Yachting qualifications which is a fantastic achievement for a group of people who have never sailed before.