One boy’s voyage of discoveryBy Max Kinsman (Year 11)
The first questions everyone asked me when I got back from my 10-day voyage on the Young Endeavour were ‘Were you sick?’ and ‘Were you scared?’ Well, everyone was sick at first, and I think everyone got scared. For me, the most frightening thing was being sent up the mast with another Youth Crew member to untie a knot in the middle of the night in Bass Strait.
It was really rough and windy, and at night the sea and sky are just black. But I knew I could do it. That’s one of the best things about the Young Endeavour – you learn that you can do things you never thought you would be capable of.
My voyage (February 2017) sailed from Stanley in Tasmania to Geelong. The first two days were spent getting organised and learning what to do. One of the first skills we learnt was climbing aloft. This means climbing the mast and going out on the yard. You always climb with someone else so you can do buddy checks on your harnesses.
The Young Endeavour is a square rigger and the crew need to climb up to release and set the sails using the furling line. It feels amazing to be up so high, looking down on the ship, and it was one of my favourite things.
The Young Endeavour is run by the Australian Navy, so there is a pretty strict routine on board. A typical day started with a morning brief and breakfast, then we would do training exercises, sailing techniques, eat more food and do watch duty (there were three watches – Red, Blue and White).
The food was amazing, so I was happy when the seasickness passed. The ship’s chef made everything from daily fresh bread to lamb ribs and nightly brownies (always appreciated on the night watch).
There were 18 Youth Crew members on board – 12 girls and 6 boys from all over Australia. I think I earned the reputation as the untidiest person on board – not even the Navy could make me keep my bunk organised!
One of the best things about the voyage was anchoring at Deal Island in northern Bass Strait. We hiked to the lighthouse, which is occupied by the island’s two residents. We also went swimming, swinging off the ship on a rope, which was fantastic fun. From there we sailed around Westernport Bay then through the Heads into Port Philip Bay.
On the second-last day (Command Day), we were put in charge of the ship, with one of the Youth Crew as Captain.
When we sailed into Geelong on the final day I felt very proud of what we had achieved and sad that it was over. Yes, I was sick, and yes, I got scared, but it was an experience that I will never forget, and I would recommend it to anyone.
The Young Endeavour Youth Scheme takes people aged 16–23 years. For more information, go to youngendeavour.gov.au.