中國帆船訓練協會 – 由秘書長-陳永年“查理陳”成立
我的第一次航行於帆船訓練艦馬爾科姆·米勒作為一個實習生，始於1979年4月1日. 我當時是全船最年輕的船員16歲又3個月.在兩週的航程我似乎已經打動了船長”馬克凱米斯 – 貝蒂”，分派我當廚師庫克的助手也許他注意到了我工作勤奮,也許他認為這真是諷刺讓一個中國小伙子在船上廚房工作。希望這是因為我已經表現出具領導能力的潛力。
於1980年3月，我加入了溫斯頓·丘吉爾的成員，在39個新學員和其他船員加入前一周抵達港口。總共55位船員包含船長（克里斯·布萊克），大副（肯格姆），管輪（邁克·斯蒂芬斯），水手長（喬治·索普），大廚庫克（羅恩·奇斯曼）和6位年長的志願者。有五個“大男孩”有航行經驗 – 3位瞭望員、水手長和我 。而我們在瑟瑟的寒風中出海。下面是船上大廚”羅恩”的航行日記.他教我如何在惡劣天氣條件下的廚房移動鍋具。
到1983年，我最喜歡的船長”克里斯·布雷克”，已經注意到我鮮少出現在廚房, 於是他讓我到甲板上訓練成瞭望員在一項高桅帆船賽。 （我還是設法重新回到溫暖的廚房參與1984年為期8週的高桅帆船賽）。
For many young volunteers, this was the top of the tree. It was like being a school prefect, but with real authority. Each Watch had 13 trainees. There was a nice old person , who was the Watch Officer. That job was to man the bridge and then the Watch Leader had of glory of poncing about on deck and up the rigging with five or ten of the watch. For some years, the 39 trainees had blue work smocks or T- Shirts. The 3 Watch Leaders wore red, heroically. Can you spot two watch leaders in the picture below?
The above is a picture from this film below, about a voyage in 1982. It is well worth watching if you have the time.
And, below, in the middle of the upper yard is my mate , Will Handley. Yes, he is wearing a red T-shirt. The photo is the parade of sail out of Southampton in 1982.
Young ladies can also be equally as heroic as blokes. Here is Lucy Todd and her watch in 1985.
And here is me, in charge of the liberty boat for a day:
By the time I had finally grown up, April 1985, I had done more tours of duty on deck than time in the galley. On my final three trips, I had even got into the routine of making one of my watch the assistant leader for the day, so they could take charge of the more mundane tasks. Coiling the ropes; cleaning the bogs ( heads); stowing one of the smaller sails. So I can categorically state that nearly everyone can lead others , in this structured “society”, on a well-run sail training ship. None of the other trainees would contest the orders of my assistant. Otherwise they would have to face me. I had become that scarry.
The leadership that I performed on the schooners was obviously a transferable skill. In 1986 , I was sent off by the Cambridge University Officer Training Corp to a Territorial Army officers selection course and I passed with flying colours. After all, getting 7 other officer candidates to traverse fictitious chasms ( marked out by red tape) , with planks and bits of rope, carrying oil drums was simple compared with stowing the square topsail on the upper yard with a watch of nervous trainees. With the forward planning and delegation skills that one learns as the Cook’s Arse, one can reach the rank of Royal Navy Commodore. There is one- he is called Paul Bennett and his first command was the galley of the Malcolm Miller in 1984.
In 2003, Chris Blake needed my services and he Shanghaied me to work as the Cook on the Reliplica Endeavour.
In return, in 2013, I pressganged Chris and Ken Groom to help with technical advice for the restoration of the Malcolm Miller. Here they are being interrogated by the new owner of the first ship that I sailed on. I am now able to delegate to Captains.
We, China Sail Training have lots of apprentices, including Chinese, to pass on our knowledge to. This is one of the reasons for this long blog, for them to read. Here are some that my very good friend, Jim Graves, of the Merseyside Adventure Saiing Trust, got on board for the 2015 Apprenticeship Cup. Of course, China STA is not just about Chinese. I am off to the Harwich mayflower project on Monday to help Essex boys and girls raise their own money to go off on an adventure of a lifetime.
There is a point to this story. And here is the conclusion. Nearly everyone has leadership potential. It is genetic. After all parents have to lead their children. However, there are not many opportunities for young adults to learn how to lead these days. Most young men can lead a virtual platoon of Rambos on a big TV screen via an X box. But I am not sure how much of a transferable skill this is for the real world. Sail training is still about. There are ships still doing the teamwork training. Some of them also provide leadership opportunities. The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow and practicing leadership from a young age is so important.
Please contact me if you can help us with anything. Specifically, we need more trainees to go off to sea.
I never progressed onto a career at sea. I was never a ship’s Captain. However, I learnt the leadership skills required for command. That is why I can sit comfortably , at dinner , with Captains, including the man who gave me many leadership challenges in my youth. Here we are, below. The Captain in the middle is Angela Morris of the Training Ship Royalist.