Thanks to supporters on the Isle of Wight, the fundraising efforts of Ocean Youth Trust South’s (OYTS) Island Support Group and additional sponsors, 14 Island youngsters completed a free four night voyage on board the sail training vessel Prolific on October 22. This was the very first time a full complement of all-Island children has taken part.
The trip included a circumnavigation of the island, a trip to Poole and a night passage and the youngsters took part in all aspects of sailing Prolific, including passage planning, sail handling, helming and preparing all meals.
On completion of the voyage at Shepards Wharf in Cowes, the Island’s Lord Lieutenant Mrs. Susie Sheldon and her husband, Mr. Jamie Sheldon, Commodore of the Royal Yacht Squadron, presented certificates. They also heard enthusiastic tales of their adventures.
The voyage would normally cost £375 per person and was originally open to just six local young people. However due to the high number of applicants it was decided to seek further sponsorship so that all the berths on Prolific would be filled by Island youngsters.
Following the success of this venture, the Island Support Group of OYTS are now raising funds to enable them to repeat the exercise next year. They will be releasing details soon of how many free berths will be available and on which dates.
The Chairman of the Island Support Group, Brian Mead, said: “We were all most impressed with the positive way in which the youngsters reacted to what for many of them, was a first offshore sailing experience, evidently settling down within an hour or two to life aboard. I am sure they will have improved in self-confidence. We hope it may encourage more to put themselves forward for what we offer.”