When an ad for Young Endeavour popped up in my Facebook feed I initially thought nothing of it. But after scrolling past it for weeks I decided to check it out, and I can safely say I have never made a better decision. A quick scan of the website and I was already imagining what it would be like. I actually applied without telling my parents so when I was offered a berth on voyage 01/17- Adelaide to Stanley I had to convince my parents to let me go.
I had the privilege of spending 11 days on a tall ship, learning to sail, with young Australians from all over the country and with an awesome group of staffies. Just thinking about my time on the Young Endeavour makes me smile and seeing my name tag with red watch on it brings back so many memories. Even though I was seasick for the first couple of days its still the best thing I have done to date.
After my return I made this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYziIhtJZHU&feature=youtu.be
I'll leave you all with a recount about a single moment of time on the Young Endeavour, a recount which I received an A for, and, according to my awesome English teacher 'was well-crafted, so that the reader shared her triumph at the achievement'.
‘Do you want to help sea furl the topgallant sail?’ Peter asked. My heart nearly skipped a beat. I hesitated a moment both enthralled and terrified by the idea and replied slowly, ‘I would like to, but I’m not sure if I can’. Peter nodded and told me to go get ready; I had been the starboard lookout for this night watch keeping an eye out for lighthouses, so I put down the binoculars around my neck walked to the hatch at midships and descended the ladder practically shaking with excitement. I turned at the bottom away from the galley and headed past the other youthies harnesses, the two six berths and the heads (toilets) down to the 12 berth where all the girls were sleeping. I crept forward and reached up to my bunk to grab my sneakers. There was no way I was climbing the ratlines with sandals on. I ran back to the midships hatch and climbed back up, padding across the deck barefoot and sat down by the helm on the cold and slightly damp deck to put my shoes on.
Sneakers on, Peter and I did a buddy check of each other’s harnesses and after asking final permission from the navigator, Julia, our merry crew was ready to climb. Eddie and Lachie were going to climb up the Pprt side and Peter and myself the starboard, while Jimmy would wait on deck till we were all past the second platform. I stepped around the ratlines so that I was between the side of the ship and them, one hand unhooking my ascender while the other held the steel cable. Using a thumb I pulled back the locking mechanism of the ascender and put it around the red safety line, pushing it back with my thumb. After a quick pull to test my ascender was on I started climbing. Taking a few steps, I slowly moved up the ratlines bit by bit.
Once Peter was over the first platform it was my turn. I climbed as high as the red safety line would allow. Hugging the support beam for the platform I freed one hand to unclip the clip from my harness and put it onto the steel ring around the support beams. After giving it a quick shake to let the others know I was clipped on, I took my ascender off the safety line and reached up on tip toes to attach it to the safety line, starting from underneath the first platform. Once my ascender was on I pushed it up past the first platform and undid the other clip, putting it back on my belt. I took a deep breath of the cool night air and reached up to the ratlines above the platform, stepping up and to the left with my feet. Pushing myself up and over till I was standing up with my toes on the platform. I squatted down and moved my ascender up. I continued this upward towards the second platform.
In all my time on the Young Endeavor I had only once made it over the second platform and that was when the ship had been at a dock. The second time I had tried the ship had been rolling from side to side and I had chickened out halfway up.
Peter was above me, well into the ascent. I watched him climb up, knowing that I could do it, wanting to do it. The time came for me to climb over the second platform. I climbed up to the base of the second platform, again hugging the support beam. From where I was on the ratlines the first step was to my left at shin height, the second step was just above knee height, the third was waist height and the fourth step I was hugging with my arm. It was slightly above shoulder height. I was already leaning backwards and with shaky hands and legs I clipped myself onto the steel cable around the support beam, moved my ascender to the new safety line and unclipped myself from the steel cable. Another deep breath and before I knew it I was standing and shaking on the ratlines just above the second platform. I looked down and Jimmy gave me thumbs up as he headed towards the ratlines to begin his climb. I called out to the guys above me, Eddie and Lachie, who were already on the yard and Peter who was about to move onto it. ‘I just wanted to let you guys know, this is the first time I’ve gotten over the second platform since the first day’. I heard someone say ‘Good Job’ and ‘nice’. I climbed a little higher and hugged the ratlines and steel cable. Looking down I could see Jimmy climbing up the ratlines between the first and second platform. Looking up I could see Peter move onto the topgallant yard.
Peter was not particularly short but the yards were braced hard to port. This meant that between the ratlines and the footrope under the yardarm was about a 1.2-metre gap. Just as he put one foot over to the rope under the yard we heard Kyle and Julia shouting from the helm. They didn’t actually want us to sea furl the topgallant sail as the wind had changed direction. So instead we stayed up there until Jimmy joined us with his camera. The guys at the helm turned off the lights for us so we got to stand on the ratlines and hang off the yards in complete darkness. We were unable to differentiate between the sky and the sea because everything was black. After many photos we all made it safely back down onto the deck to resume our watch. One small moment in time, but a memory in my life, and from my time on the Young Endeavour that I will never forget.