Today, 12 students began their voyage from Penzance to Liverpool, embarking on an opportunity of a lifetime.
St Francis Xavier’s College (SFX) was invited by the Merseyside Adventure Sailing Trust (MAST) to participate in its Sir Ken and Lady Dodd Tall Ship Experience. The invitation follows the success and students’ enjoyment of the charity’s Three Cities Voyage last year which saw them sailing from Dublin.
This year, SFX invited its neighbouring schools, St Julie’s Catholic High School and Gateacre School to join the trip. Four Year 10 students from each school came together to take part in the MAST voyage.
MAST is a charity founded by Jim Graves B.E.M that provides opportunities for young people to develop their full potential and improve their mental health through sail training. In April, its first office, based in Birkenhead, was officially opened by Lady Anne Dodd, president of the trust.
After a long drive down to Penzance from Liverpool yesterday, students were provided with the necessary health and safety training to ‘learn the ropes’ and partook in a range of team-building exercises to get to know their new crewmates.
On-board, they will work together to support the operation of the ship each day, developing their sail skills. Whether it be through steering the ship, climbing the rigs, or controlling the mast, a practical taste of what careers in the maritime industries look like will be appreciated.
After five days at sea, the SFX, St Julie’s and Gateacre students will arrive back in Liverpool on Friday 14 July.
The trip will act as a positive intervention for the young people involved as they are able to enhance their teamwork, communication, and resilience in a unique and exciting way.
MAST has also shaped the experience in a way that means students will leave feeling more confident, inspired, and motivated to continue fulfilling their potential in other aspects of their lives.
One of the participating SFX students said, “I think it will be an amazing and rewarding experience, something that I may not get the chance to do again. It will also be a valuable asset to my CV and something that may help me to decide on my career choices.”
A Year 10 student from Gateacre School commented: “I am eager to learn, and the experience of learning to sail is exciting. It’s something I have never tried before, and I am looking forward to the experience and being part of the crew.”
David Hayes, headteacher of St Francis Xavier’s College, said, “I am certain that our students will have a fantastic time taking part in the Sir Ken and Lady Dodd Tall Ship Experience. We are looking forward to hearing about the new relationships they have formed with others in addition to the impressive skills and knowledge they will take away from it.
“Thank you to MAST for providing this exciting opportunity for our young people, and for the excellent mentorship they will receive whilst on-board. At St Francis Xavier’s College, we strive to deliver the best opportunities for our children, whether that’s inside or outside the classroom, to benefit their understanding in a variety of ways, and we look forward everything planned next.”