Byline: Natalie Staples

Coming from blue ribbon sailing stock, Nathan Warner from Hornsby recently returned from an 11-day voyage sailing from Eden to Sydney on tall ship STS Young Endeavour.

While the 23-year-old grew up sailing skiffs at Northbridge Sailing Club and had a world champion 18-foot skiff sailor as a father, sailing a brigantine was outside his realm of experience.

When the Macquarie University student, who is doing a Bachelor of Arts in Science (majoring in Physics) heard about the Young Endeavour from his step-father, he knew it was something that he had to do.

“My family has a very broad sailing background.  My grandfather was the first man to win the Sydney to Hobart yacht Race consecutively on Astor in 1963 and 1964 – Wild Oates XI has been the only boat to do it since.”

“My step-father sailed on Young Endeavour back in 2000 and has been telling me to do it for years.  He told me it was one of the best experienced he’d had in his life. Hearing how much he loved it, I knew it was something I had to do.”

Young Endeavour Youth Scheme provides young Australians aged 16-23 with a unique, challenging and inspirational experience at sea aboard Australia’s national sail training ship Young Endeavour.

During each voyage the ship embarks young Australians who learn the skills to sail a square-rigged tall ship; including how to navigate, keep watch, cook in the galley, take the helm and climb the 30 metre mast to work aloft, setting and furling sails. 

During each voyage, youth live and work with a diverse range of people from across Australia and they are encouraged to pursue personal and team goals and challenges.

Near the completion of the voyage, each youth crew elect a command team who take full responsibility for Young Endeavour for 24 hours, sailing the ship along the Australian coast.

“On Command Day I was the Navigator and helmsman that brought us into Sydney.  It was stressful as while my assistant Nav had told me we’d followed the right course after I plotted it, the crew set the wrong sails, so we were doing donuts in front of Lion Island for a few minutes.”

While there were a few minutes of stress, Nathan said it was a good thing to have happened as he learnt from it.

“Learning ways I can manage myself and other people has been a big thing and something I’ll definitely apply at work.”

“One of the biggest things was being able to step back and trust in other people skills and knowledge.  At times I can micro-manage, so it has helped me to trust in other people and to know that they’ll follow me as much as I’ll follow them.”

“I’ve had one of the best experiences of my life on this boat.  I’d happily do it again in a heartbeat if I could.  It has been an amazing experience.”

The Young Endeavour conducts up to 20 voyages a year, predominantly up the east coast of Australia.  Since the program started in 1988, over 13,100 Australian youth have sailed on her and benefitted from the program, which increase self-awareness and develop teamwork and leadership skills.

Applications and more information can be found at www.youngendeavour.gov.au