If ever there is a unique selling point of the Sea Cadet’s experience it has to be the opportunity for those Cadets of twelve years-of-age and over to sail offshore on one of the Charity’s fleet of sea-going vessels.
Two of TS Drax’s ship’s company have recently done just that and successfully completed their voyages. They explain in their own words their experiences, whilst giving advice to those contemplating following in their footsteps.
Cadet 1st Ellis recounted, “It was definitely the best week of my year. I really enjoyed sailing aboard T.S Royalist. If you like being out on the water, offshore is perfect on any of the different sea cadet vessels.”
“I would of course recommend going. It can be a challenge, but it is so worth it. It's a once in a lifetime experience.”
One of the best bits – it was thrilling!
The best bits? Ellis described when, “It was a really windy afternoon. We had got up early and had been sailing for a good few hours non-stop. We all worked really hard hauling the sails up. A few people had felt sick, but soon afterwards we all requested songs and danced on the deck while we were sailing.
I felt included and part of the group. One of our officers then asked if we wanted to go to the bowsprit, to sit in the netting at the very bow of the ship. A group of us sat there while we were approaching the isle of Wight. I could see the waves down below as we speeded ahead. It was thrilling.”
“I had so much fun on TS Royalist”, reminisced Cadet 1st Eve. “I absolutely loved climbing up the mast and getting to the top. The view was incredible, and everyone was watching and cheering me on as I went up.
The staff are really friendly, and well organised, and the facilities are really nice. I enjoyed meeting new people and making so many new friends from all over the country including the Isle of Man. I have kept in touch with them.”
What to expect going Offshore
Eve advises, “Be prepared to get along with people. Working as a team makes the experience so much better. The week will be what you make it. A smile can go a long way and being sociable makes it more worthwhile.
While it is hard work, you won't get away with not doing anything. Again, if you make a good team, it all pays off.
Be prepared for rough weather (especially if it’s later in the year) - it can get choppy and can feel a bit queasy at times.”
- Ellis - “Have fun and make friends.”
- “Ask loads of questions. The crew love to tell you what they know. At the end of the day, they are there for you.
- Don't be afraid to ask for help or say you don't understand – the ship’s crew are nice people and prefer if you ask and get it right than don't, and get it wrong
- Bring spare uniform (x2 shirts, x2 trousers) - you do get mucky, and you sweat a lot
- Have showers whenever you can
- Help your crewmembers out. You are a team and so don’t leave it to one person Some duties you want to get done quickly!
- Have fun and make friends.”
- Eve – “I can’t wait to go again!”
- “Most people didn’t bring a camera on board, so the Royalist staff let them borrow a very fancy one so everyone could still take photos
- Do not pack too much as there isn’t much room to store your bags
- Remember to bring a separate backpack so you can take it onshore when necessary.”