For 3 years running, small groups of KTS+ pupils have taken part in Tall Ships Adventures. Tall Ships Youth Trust is a registered charity founded in 1956. They are the UK’s oldest and largest sail training charity, dedicated to the personal development of young people age 12 to 25, through the crewing of ocean-going sail training vessels.
On Saturday 15th April 2017, a group of six lucky KTS+ students climbed on board the school mini bus and headed up to Greenock which is small port on the Clyde west of Glasgow. We were joining other young people who had travelled from England to be part of the crew of the tall ship Stavros S Niarchos for a week’s sailing around the west coast of Scotland.
Stavros S Niarchos is an impressive eye catching brig rigged tall ship and is owned by the Tall Ships Youth trust. She has a crew of up to 67 people and was built in the year 2000, weighing 200 tons with a length of 200ft.
The Sunday involved a day of training and getting fitted out with oil skins and harnesses and then we were divided into two groups Red watch and White watch. Then on Sunday we were off out of port and heading south towards the Isle of Arron.
Sailing a tall ship requires a large number of crew all working together as part of a team. When at sea there is always much to be done including keeping watch, steering and trimming the sails. Even with such a large group of us we were all kept busy from breakfast at 8 am until lights out at 10.30. There was very little time for rest. We all quickly learnt ‘the ropes’, and soon got to know the other volunteers and permanent members of the crew. The sailing of the ship is all done by hand and we learnt how to climb the rigging and yard arms to enable the sails to be lowered and set and also how to work together with the ropes to trim the sails to ensure we had the best chance of catching the win.
The following day, we sailed around the small uninhabited island of Ailsa Craig which is home to a large populations of gannets and puffins and then sailed on into Campbeltown, which is the largest town on the Kintyre. That evening we had a few hours of shore leave which some of the group spent visiting the supermarket and the local chippie. Then back to the ship and to our pipe cots ready for another early rise and ‘Happy hour’, which involved cleaning the toilets and showers. Before we left Campbeltown we spent some fun time learning how to row the ship’s rowing boats.
On the way back to Greenock near the island of Great Cumbrae we were passed by a flotilla of boats escorting a submarine out to the deeper waters of the Atlantic. We arrived back at Greenock at midday on Friday which gave us enough time for some of us to attempt a social climb to the top of the foremast (140 ft up from the deck). Then down below deck to pack and prepare for our early departure and farewells the following morning.
During the week on board the ship we learned a great many new skills and made lots of new friends. We all had a wonderful time and it is a week we will all remember for the rest of our lives. Also nobody was sea sick!