How sailing really affects the youths’ lives:

This is an extract from a letter by one of the crew members on the Governor’s Cup Yacht Race of 2010:

“… and I remember so clearly how scared we felt when things started going wrong on the third day of the race. We were about 300 nautical miles into the Atlantic Ocean. We had already sailed through a full gale on the first night, and then we realized that the main water tank had leaked away into the bilges and we only had drinking water in the forward tanks and our emergency supply. Our frozen food had spoiled and we had to throw six evening meals overboard. Our engine’s alternator packed up so we only had a small solar panel to charge the main batteries. That meant we were a dark ship at night, with only our emergency navigational lights powered by torch batteries to put on when we saw ship’s lights on the horizon. All we had to steer by was a small LED light over the compass. The crew of six children were very nervous and scared. But the skippers reassured us that we had enough food and water to reach St Helena Island which we had.

Then we heard over the sat phone that we were lying in 1st place in the Cruising Class!! We got very excited and worked really hard for the rest of the race, day and night, to keep the yacht sailing as fast as possible. We were a very happy boat and morale was high.

I learned that things can go wrong. And even though it is scary, we must keep our panic under control and work on making alternative plans. Relying on and trusting the team becomes so important. And we need to put on a brave face, even though inside we are nervous and unsure.

Winning the race was amazing I’ll never forget how proud we were to cross the finish line, 1st on Handicap in the Cruising Class, and the 3rd yacht over the line out of a fleet of 16. Thanks for the awesome experience.” Ranger Guide, Chloe Byth aged 16.

High School programme participants