Class 7 at Sea

Nancy, Class 7

As I was looking out over the everlasting expanse of turquoise, blue and green water, I suddenly realised how much I liked sailing. The waves crashed the side of the boat as I stood at the helm. The crew sat in the cockpit, awaiting instructions and quietly chatting. I looked at the mainsail, taught and unmoving as the wind blew us along. The stay sail was the same, adding extra force. Like a bird, the red naval flag with a union jack in the corner, flapped out behind.

Unexpectedly the boat heeled. I turned the helm and she straightened up as the water leapt onto the deck, creating a mirror of glass. The wind was blowing in my face as I anticipated the next wave. It struck like a rock, the force of it so strong that it feels like we will capsize, but no, she rights herself and carries on.

It was exhilarating, this was what I had needed for weeks. I looked behind me and all I could see was water all around. The next wave behind looks like a cave, ready to swallow the boat, but she just takes it in her stride and keeps going.

This was all while I was on a school trip on three large racing yachts. On each boat were eight students accompanied by one or two teachers, and three crew from the boat; the skipper, the first mate, and a watch leader. We were split into two watches in which we did tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and navigation.

I think the trip was really great, as it brought the class together as a team (it’s impossible to sail a boat without good teamwork) and also taught us some basic skills like cooking and cleaning. This trip was character building and I feel that everyone in the class has grown up during this week of sailing.

One of the best parts for me was planning the night navigation and following lights to get from one place to another. Before we set off for our night sail we had to learn the patterns of the lights and work out how long it would take to reach the next one, how far away they were and which lights to look for.

I think this trip should be done by other classes and schools; it gives you challenges, helps you work as a team and memories that you will never forget.

Photographs by Elliott, Class 7, and Steve Taylor