Six deserving youngsters who won a place on this year's MDL Sail Training Awards are now back on dry land, after setting sail from MDL's Ocean Village Marina on 16th April for six days at sea.
The MDL-sponsored awards, which have been running for over 20 years, offer admirable young people - carefully selected due to their exceptional accomplishments, or for overcoming adverse personal circumstances – the opportunity of a lifetime aboard a training yacht operated by Ocean Youth Trust South.
Joining a team on board the ketch 'John Laing' were Callum Archibald, 14, from Basingstoke, 13-year-old John Bratherton, from Fordingbridge, Erin Sutton, 14, and Jodie Beckham, 13, both from Totton, Oscar Perkins, 13, from Brixham and 15-year-old Robert Jelley from Romsey. The 230 nautical mile trip saw this year's MDL award winners first heading for an anchorage in Studland, from where they motored into Poole on the Friday evening. Next morning they had a fabulous sail round the south of the Isle of Wight on a glorious day, ending up in Haslar. They sailed to Cowes for lunch, came out, anchored an Osborne Bay and planned a final pilotage exercise up to Southampton. RYA Start Yachting certificates were awarded to all participants.
Eamonn Feeney, Managing Director at MDL Marinas, commented: "We're delighted to welcome back our Sail Training Awards winners following their exciting journey. This really is a once-in-a-lifetime trip for the young people selected, rewarding them for their achievements or inspiration and support to others. "Over the years the MDL sponsored Sail Training Awards have provided over 140 young people the opportunity to experience a trip on board the John Laing, something which has been life-changing for some of our past winners. We are proud to continue to support Ocean Youth Trust South and the important work that it carries out".
One of the scheme's recent success stories is 17-year-old Toby Hunt from Bognor Regis who was one of the lucky winners selected to take part in last year's trip, and has since been busy working as a volunteer, assisting Ocean Youth Trust South with its winter refit of 'John Laing'. In addition, Toby has been working hard as a volunteer trainee Bosun for the 2014 trip and is looking to become a volunteer member of the sea staff for the future.
The six young winners from this year will now be invited to attend the Southampton Boat Show, where they will be officially presented with their trophies at the MDL stand by the owner of MDL Marinas, Lord Iliffe. Nominations for next year's awards will be announced in December 2014. For more information please visit www.sailtrainingawards.co.uk For further information about MDL and its marinas please visit www.mdlmarinas.co.uk (from 'BYM News')