HRH Prince Philip once commented that sail training is the most arduous environment for learning teamwork and leadership, short of warfare. It is not about taking novices to sea and teaching them to sail. A sail training vessel is an environment where young people have to overcome their fear of the unknown, tiredness, shyness, work with each other, communicate with strangers and take on tasks that will push them to the edge of their physical and mental limits.
The trainees don’t just ‘do as they are told’. They have to work in teams, manage tasks on their own and solve real life problems in sometimes strenuous and taxing conditions.
The tasks are real – not games on a management course with a neatly timed coffee break at regular intervals.The trainees sail the vessel, from Port A to Port B – setting sails, scrubbing the deck, peeling potatoes. It’s all part of the life of running a Tall Ship.
Very few trainees go on to have careers at sea. But what they learn on board a sail training vessel will have a lasting effect on their future lives, regardless of career choices.
Once you’re out at sea on a ship, you can’t stop and get off when you want. It’s an environment that is hard to achieve in this modern world with constant electronic communication. It makes for resourceful, adaptable people who will have an experience that lasts them a life time.