William sets sail on tall ship


SHOOTING stars, sea shanties and a helicopter rescue made life on board a tall ship a real adventure for Langholm student William Jammeh.

William sailed on the Tall Ships Youth Trust brig Stavros Niarchos, boarding in Swansea and sailing to Ireland.

He and his colleagues were split into three watches and trained in knots, sails, harnesses and safety equipment before trying a climb up the mast.

As soon as they hit the open sea, which was pretty rough, with waves as high as the sides of the ship, many people got sea sick but William was fine.

Unfortunately, his watch leader hit her head and had to be taken off in what was a dramatic rescue at sea. A helicopter and lifeboat were sent but the masts prevented the helicopter from operating safely and she was taken off in the lifeboat and went to hospital.

The size of the swell and the watch leader’s well-being made the captain decide to dock in Tenby for the night. She came back on board the next day, although she had two black eyes.

The ship sailed to Waterford and Cork where the crew had shore leave. New volunteers and crew came on board and most of the young people, with whom William had started, returned home.

The final port the Stavros visited in Ireland was Cobh, formerly known as Queenstown, which is where the last passengers joined the Titanic on its fateful voyage.

William was lucky enough to sail to Alderney in the Channel Islands and Cherbourg in France where they had short leave on a scorching day.

The next port of call was Teignmouth in Devon and lots of little boats came out from the harbour to welcome the tall ship into port. Everyone on the beach and in the harbour waved to them and they felt like royalty.

The harbour master waived the docking fees as a goodwill gesture and the Mayor went on board to welcome them.

They visited Swanage before heading to their final destination, Portsmouth. This was the ship's last voyage under the trust's ownership. It is now for sale.

William said: "I would recommend this to anyone. It was an ‘unbelievable’ tripy and I loved seeing dolphins swimming alongside the boat on a number of occasions. I also saw the Milky Way and shooting stars while far from light pollution.

"I mucked in and carried out all the duties expected of me and learned lots of knots, climbed up the mast and used the safety gear. I also learned how to play the ukele and had a few on board sing-songs.

"In Portsmouth a sea shanty band came to entertain us before we disembarked.

"The only downside of the trip was that, with very little wind, the ship was unable to sail as much as we would have liked and we had to use the engine. The upside was that I discovered I have an excellent constitution for sailing."

William is very grateful to Langholm Initiative’s Building a Future for Eskdale project, the Holywood Trust, the Tall Ships Youth Trust and the Bowman Little Trust for helping him to realise his dream to sail on board a tall ship.

Thursday, September 7, 2017 at 4:10PM
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