Byline: Natalie Staples

Izetta Clark from Garbutt has just returned from her first gap year adventure, an 11 day voyage sailing on tall ship STS Young Endeavour.

The 18 year old who finished Year 12 at Pimlico State High School last year, heard about Young Endeavour from her mother and after getting drawn from the ballot, was packing her bags for Newcastle, NSW.

Izzy joined 23 young Australians on the square-rigged tall ship on a voyage to Brisbane, exploring the coast and hidden beaches along the way.

On board the special trained Royal Australian Navy staff crew trained the ‘youthies’ how to sail Young Endeavour, including how to navigate, keep watch, climb the 30 metre mast to set and furl sails aloft, cook in the galley and take the helm.

The youth crew also had a digital detox with no phones and social media.  Izzy said she was encouraged to explore personal and team goals.

“It was the most extraordinary experience.  I learnt so much about sailing, teamwork and communication.  It was really an eye opener.”

Once the youth crew had met the challenge of learning to sail the tall ship, they elected a command team who took responsibility for sailing Young Endeavour for 24 hours.

“I was a watch leader on command day. That was pretty nerve wracking as I had no clue about what to do. I was unsure of some of the commands, but I had the team behind me so we all made it work,” Izzy said.

“Overall we went pretty well.  Everyone came together, no one was left out and everyone had awesome ideas to get around the challenges.”

Aside from learning how to sail a multi-million dollar tall ship, Izzy and her crew of youth had a chance to explore Australia’s incredible coast.

“I really loved seeing the sea life, lots of dolphins would swim alongside the boat,” Izzy said.

“Initially I was a bit terrified of climbing the mast, but I quickly overcame that and loved spending time with everyone up there.”

Aside from developing life skills, Izzy said she has also made 23 new friends from across the country.

“I’ve met the coolest people on Young Endeavour.  It has been the highlight of my year.  I’m so glad I’ve come on this.  I feel like it’s given me life skills that I can use,” Izzy said.

After her voyage, Izzy hopes to travel around Europe and next year plans to study Medical Laboratory at James Cook University

Young Endeavour is currently sailing north from Brisbane to Mackay and in following voyages will sail as far north as Cairns before returning south.  Each year Young Endeavour conducts up to 20 voyages along the east and south coasts of Australia between Cairns, Adelaide and Hobart. Young Australians aged 16 to 23 years are able to apply for a berth via a ballot at www.youngendeavour.gov.au