My Week Sailing

5th November 2015

Last year during a stopover in Ramsgate Harbour, on the SCC Offshore Yacht T.S. City Liveryman, the skipper, Lt (SCC) Craig Mulligan visited my Sea Cadet Unit. He spoke to my training officer and invited me to join an offshore voyage in October this year, which would end in taking part in the ASTO annual Small Ships Race from Cowes. The race is run under the rules of the Tall Ships Races and 50% of each crew must be under 25 years old. The event is supported by several clubs and charities such as Royal London Yacht Club and the Herapath-Shenton Trust.

My week started with a long train journey to Poole where I met the rest of the crew. The team was made up of 5 cadets, a skipper and mate. I was the only cadet from England, the rest of the crew were lads from Scotland. After getting to know each other and planning our route through the Solent, we began basic training of how to sail a yacht and how to operate the safety equipment. The next day we woke up early and began our journey out of Poole. The weather was gale force winds but clear skies. We rode high waves out of Poole harbour entrance until we reached open water then the sea became much calmer. Over the next few days we visited Lymington, Yarmouth, the Beaulieu River to Bucklers Hard Marina, the Hamble River, Ocean Village in Southampton, Langstone Harbour, then to Cowes for race day on Saturday. I frequently took control of the yacht, both out on open water, and manoeuvring into harbour. I improved upon my existing navigation skills, and learnt some new ones. One day we went to a 'scrubbing grid' which is where the boat is dry docked then scrubbed. We cleaned the boat so that it would be more streamlined through the water for the race on Saturday. On race day we got the boat ready to go quickly and headed out to the Solent. The race lasted nearly all day and resulted in a second place for T.S City Liveryman. We were leading for most of the race but in the last minute our sister ship, T.S. Vigilant over took due to a sudden wind shift. There were only 21 seconds between us at the finish line, and only 5 minutes between the top four.

Our team won a 2015 Reed's Nautical Almanac for our skipper.

This was a really great experience with the voyage during the week working towards the race at the end. Coming 2nd out of 22 ships was an amazing achievement. This was the first time I had ever competed in a race like this. Our skipper said we bonded well as a crew even though we had never met before and also said we had great teamwork skills. As a result of the week I was awarded with Offshore Seamen 1st Class Badge to wear on my uniform.

Oscar Phillips

View Images