First time sailors from York aboard James Cook

OYT North recently completed another successful voyage for a group of first-time sailors from York who achieved their initial sailing qualifications.

Ten children and two teachers from St Olave’s Prep School, York went on a week long voyage with OYT North aboard the James Cook. The group of 12-year-olds travelled along the North East coast, learning many new skills while they were encouraged to work as a team setting the sails, steering and participating in life onboard.

Each child’s practical learning went towards achieving a nationally recognised Royal Yachting Association (RYA) qualification and Grace Metcalfe, the skipper of James Cook was delighted to award each member of the crew a Start Yachting certificate.

Over the seven days the children sailed from North Shields to Blyth and from Hartlepool to Newcastle. They were instructed by members of the OYT North crew in sailing techniques such as knot tying and navigating. They were also taught the correct terms for and proper use of sailing equipment.

They were accompanied by their teacher Emma Layfield, 34 from Pickering, North Yorkshire. Emma, Head of Junior Science at the school, used to volunteer with Ocean Youth Trust throughout university. She said: “The trip was a wonderful way to relive my earlier sailing experiences with the Trust, but more importantly the children absolutely loved it and got so much out of the experience.

“None of them had ever been on such a large boat before and many were a little nervous about the prospect but they all really got into the swing of it. They picked up lots of new skills and learnt how to apply the curriculum to practical situations.

“For example, they employed their maths knowledge in navigating and plotting courses for the vessel, did all their own cooking and learnt a lot about meteorology. As we travelled along the coast they learnt to identify different types of birds and other sea life as well as looking at the environmental impact of man on the landscape – a major part of the geography curriculum.

“All the children really pulled together as a team, though they were all recognised for their hard work individually with their RYA awards. I’m already looking forward to next year’s voyage.”

Steve Lennon said: “It is always a pleasure when we take a group of children out on the boat who get such a great deal of enjoyment and achievement from it. I’m particularly glad that on our first voyage of the season the children have had such a wonderful time and picked up the necessary skills to receive their first sailing qualification.

“Getting youngsters out of the classroom to learn practical skills in the great outdoors can be hugely beneficial for their health and self-esteem. It’s great to see children who feel nervous at the start of a trip come back after a week full of confidence and excited about discovering a new interest.

“I hope that some of the children who took part in this voyage have discovered a new enthusiasm for sailing and go on to further learning. I look forward to welcoming them back on future trips.”

If you are interested in learning more about Ocean Youth Trust North or would like to book a sailing trip, email Rachel using the Contact form, or phone the office on 0191 257 1212.

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