Back to News
Posted on 09 Nov 2016

A sailor's life: An unforgettable opportunity with Jubilee Sailing Trust

This summer, one lucky WA student was given a once in a life-time opportunity of a two-week sailing course.


Adventure at sea

It was a fifteen-day voyage from Cadiz, Spain through the Mediterranean to the Atlantic Ocean and back to A Coruna, Spain. The most exciting part of this voyage was being a part of the crew! All thanks to Dr Rana and Mr Farmbrough!

Our duty as part of the crew

The different types of activities we did were pulling ropes to set the sails, climbing the mast, mess duty and being on watch duty.

Watch duty was undertaken for 6 hours a day by each group. During watch duty, we would look at anything on both port and starboard sides of the ship, looking out for other boats, land masses, buoys and more. We would also get the chance to helm the ship.

Mess duty is when the selected crew members help around in the kitchen by washing, helping prepare the food, serving the food. I did mess duty twice through the whole voyage and when a crew member is on mess duty they are excused from the watch.  

Every day for an hour, every crew member would take part in an event called "happy hour". Here, we would clean the ship both below deck and on deck.

Life on board

The life I lived on board was nicknamed the "sailor’s life" by my other crew members. I slept for most of my free time; I'd sleep if I was not on watch duty, mess duty or if the ropes did not need to be pulled. My fellow colleagues say that climbing the mast was the most fun, but I did not climb the masts of the ship as I feared being so high up while it was moving. They each giggled. The only times I climbed the masts was when the ship was stationary. I feared it even though the ship had multiple safety measures. I felt like the decision to not climb the mast while the ship moved was a natural survival instinct.

My opinion on watch duty and mess duty changed drastically during the voyage. At the beginning of the voyage, I despised mess duty. It prevented me from going to watch duty and helping around in the kitchen did not seem very fun. I looked forward to watch duty and was very excited to take part in it because it reminded me of the Night's Watch from Game of Thrones. By the end of the voyage, I disliked watch duty very much, not because of helming or watching, it was because of the cold. All we did was sit and do our duty for the ship.

Helming was difficult and still is in my opinion as keeping the ship on one course is extremely hard when the wind and the tide are constantly pushing the ship. Being at the watch at the starboard side of the ship was the best as you were hidden from the cold winds; however, the most common position to which I was appointed was to be on watch on the port side of the ship. By the end, I managed to survive but I could have never done it alone. The interactivity between crew members was crucial; during the darkest and coldest moments a group member would go to the kitchen and bring us all nice warm tea or coffee with biscuits and the elder group members would tell us about their life and fascinate us with their life stories. I grew to like mess duty as it got me out of watch duty.

Final thoughts

I am most proud of taking part in the Jubilee Sailing Trust opportunity. This is not relevant to any course I have chosen or am currently doing, but I have learned many life lessons and more importantly, flaws in some of my skills. The one that most improved is leadership. I never realised how difficult it would be to lead people of different age groups. It was on a whole different level in comparison with anything I have ever done in school.

I felt like a Dothraki at sea when I sailed, but this does not mean I will never do it again. It was a great experience and in time, I may take part in another sailing adventure.

By Jamsran Tulga, Year 13

With thanks to the Duke of York and Jubilee Sailing Trust for this outstanding opportunity.

If you enjoyed reading this you might also like: