If you asked me a two months ago if I would sail a tall ship, I would say no way. But I guess a lot can change in a few weeks. Over 11 days, as part of the Young Endeavour Voyage 2021, I was able to sail from Cairns to Airlie Beach, making stops to Fitzroy Island, Magnetic Island, as well as White Haven and Cid Harbour in the Whitsundays.
At first, being put on a boat with eighteen strangers seemed somewhat terrifying, but by the end of it, saying goodbye was the challenge. Aside from visiting islands and doing various fun activities like climbing the brigantines, hiking, waterfall swimming and rope swinging off the boat, we did learn a lot about sailing. This included learning sail theory, location of sail lines, watch duties, navigation, rules of the “road" and meteorology. Surprisingly, although most of us knew nothing about sailing when we first stepped upon the Young Endeavour, by day 11 we could set sail even with our eyes closed!
On day seven, known as 'command day', the Young Endeavour was handed over to us youthies, to safely sail us around the Whitsundays for 24 hours, whilst completing many tasks (like having a disco in the twelve berth upon anchor). I was fortunate enough to be elected command day navigator, meaning I was responsible for setting course, hitting wave points and ensuring we did not run into any islands. As navigator, I was able to use a mixture of paper and radar charts and even a pelorus! Together as a team we tackled many problems like high wind speeds and swell, seasickness, sleep deprivation and trust in ourselves. I am proud to say with only three tacks, we safely arrived at our destination, Cid Harbour, within our allotted time.
If I had to name my favourite parts of the program, I am torn between climbing and setting/furling sails. I loved the thrill of climbing the 30+ metre masts, either for fun, to untie gaskets or to fold sails. I was even named 'youthie of the mast', as I was the first in our voyage to touch the top of the mainmast. However, the reward of seeing the Young Endeavour with all her sails out was a sight and feeling I will never forget. It really gave me a sense of pride of what we could achieve as a team, as well as profound respect for the ship. I can confidently say this experience is something I will never forget for many years!
Year 12 student