Published on Tuesday, 19 August 2014 18:57
(by John Robertson, The Press and Journal)
Gordonstoun pupils and staff completed the last leg of a celebratory 80-day sailing voyage around the United Kingdom at Plockton yesterday.
Aboard the 80ft Ocean Spirit of Moray, more than 100 pupils and faculty members sailed over ten legs to mark the school's 80th anniversary.
Student Billy Forsyth, one of 10 pupils who sailed from Portsmouth to Bristol, said: "It took us 12 days and, literally, we had plain sailing for the most of it.
"The weather was wonderful, the wind was great, and nothing went wrong.
"We went out with a really good group of teachers and pupils who I didn't know from different year groups and teachers who had never taught me before, and it was really good to get to know them.
"There were people who sail all the time, people like me who just like to mess about on the boats, and people who hadn't sailed at all, so it was a really good mixture of abilities and we were able to teach each other."
The Ocean Spirit of Moray's primary function is as a Sail Training vessel for students, and at times when conditions were either too rough or too calm to sail, the four permanent crew members practiced emergency scenarios.
Seventeen-year-old Billy started at Gordonstoun at the age of nine and said he simply could not pass up the chance to get involved in the school's birthday celebrations before he leaves to pursue a degree in film studies at Oxford Brookes University in September.
He said: "This was my fifth Gordonstoun trip, and I sail smaller dinghies with a friend of mine.
"The guy in charge of sailing at Gordonstoun stood up in an assembly in February and announced the trip.
"I was sitting next to one of my mates and we just looked at each other and thought, 'yeah, that would be brilliant'.
"In the summer the boat does tall ship races and last year they went up to the Arctic to Spitsbergen in Norway, so the boat gets used the whole summer."
All Gordonstoun students undergo a programme of seamanship as part of the curriculum, and the sail training school's founder, Karl Hahn, described the Moray Firth as "my best schoolmaster".
When asked if he could sum up the trip in three words, Billy said: "Really good fun. That would be the best way to describe it."
Published on Monday, 18 August 2014 15:58
Retired engineer John Williams challenges North East public to predict how long he'll take to sail around Great Britain and Ireland for charity fundraiser
(North Shields, August 15 – 2014) Retired engineer John Williams has challenged the North East public to guess how long he'll take to complete one of the world's most gruelling sailing races, to raise funds for a local youth charity.
John, from Cullercoats in North Shields, volunteers with Ocean Youth Trust North, a Sail Training and youth development charity, and is part of a crew taking on a 2000+ mile sailing race around Great Britain and Ireland.
John and nine crew mates set off from Cowes on the Isle of Wight on Wednesday and will race a 54 foot yacht around the coastline of Great Britain and Ireland, with the aim of completing the race within two weeks.
The Round Britain and Ireland Race takes place every four years and is widely regarded in British sailing as the ultimate test of endurance and skill for yachtsmen and women.
John, said: 'I have sailed all over the world, from Greenland to Cape Horn but I regard this challenge as one of the toughest tests I'll ever face.
The Round Britain and Ireland is nearly as long as an Atlantic crossing and the changes of direction at headlands, the variety of weather conditions and complex tidal streams will mean we will have to be on full alert the entire time we are racing and keep an intensive watch schedule.
My grandchildren may think I'm nuts but the team has been training for this event since Spring and has completed over 500 miles of shorter races to qualify us to take part."
John is asking the North East public to help him raise funds to support the life changing work Ocean Youth Trust North does with young people.
Read more: North East Retiree’s gruelling ocean time challenge
Published on Thursday, 17 July 2014 15:13
9 Sail Training vessel will take part in a Small Ships Race in the Clyde next week, to celebrate the start of the Commonwealth Games. 150 young people will take part in the event followed by a cruise in company with up to 200 other vessels that are gathering in Greenock to take part in the Commonwealth Flotilla into the heart of Glasgow.
Young people from the Air Cadets, Sea Cadets, youth groups and school groups are taking part in the race in one of the most spectacular sailing areas in the UK. To follow the race and find out more, take a look at Flotilla 2014 or click on the Clyde 2014 link to the right.
Published on Thursday, 10 July 2014 08:57
Young people set to embark on adventure by sea thanks to latest funding phase
The Scottish Government today announced that £375,000 of CashBack for Communities funding is being awarded to Ocean Youth Trust Scotland to create life changing opportunities for young people across the country.
The money is the latest award from the third phase of CashBack funding, which has so far seen over £74m invested and committed to projects and initiatives across Scotland since its inception in 2007.
National sail training charity, Ocean Youth Trust Scotland, will use the grant to fund New Horizons, a three year national project to provide sail training opportunities for 576 young people in Scotland.
Read more: Ocean Youth Trust Scotland buoyed by £375K Cashback for Communities funding