The first week of March brought the first residential voyage of the season as there was a welcome gap in the winter storms.
Volunteers had pulled out all the stops to make sure that Challenge Wales was ready for her first residential of the year making sure she was ship shape and fully stored. A 7 day voyage with college students where they would be learning about sailing, teamwork, leadership, exploring the local geography and understanding about the environment.
At the end of the voyage you wouldn’t have believed that the students had joined not knowing each other and with little to no sailing experience!
But that is what sail training is all about. Our classroom doesn’t have four walls and anything can happen on one of our residentials….and it certainly did.
We managed to spot seals at the magical Lundy Island as we stepped ashore there, we had sing songs in the saloon as the Challenge Wales guitar made a guest appearance, we had mugs of hot chocolate on deck to warm ourselves up, we saw friendships develop and conversations had as the digital detox started.
In addition, the young people were learning teamwork skills, exploring the natural world, leading teams, building confidence while having fun.
The voyage took students from Cardiff to Swansea, to Lundy Island and then onto Neyland in West Wales (thanks Neyland Marina for being so welcoming as usual), an anchorage at Tenby and then back up to Cardiff Bay.
It’s always sad saying goodbye to students as they depart the boat. The laughter, joking, hustle and bustle of the week starts to die down as the voyage comes to an end. Volunteers reflected on how well the young people had raised to the challenge of learning in a unique environment, achieved their personal & group goals, had seen characters grow and developed personally during the time.
Until the next time…….