A number of Orkney Sea Cadets were able to get a taste of life on board a tall ship when the sail training brig, Royalist, called into Scapa on Thursday (May 27).
So enjoyable was the experience, a number of the young cadets have now shown interest in applying for a residential trip onboard when these are allowed to resume.
A spokesman for Orkney Sea Cadets said: “The visit was an excellent evening with learning all about the ship, the voyages available onboard and evening getting a shot at sail handling. A very informative visit for the ten cadets who attended, aged 12 to 15, who have now gained a further insight into the opportunities available to them and many have now shown interest in applying for a residential trip on board when these become possible again.”
There are currently no trainees on board, only the ship’s crew who have created a “household bubble” and ensure all necessary COVID-19 safety measures are taken and followed.
Royalist Commanding Officer Captain Roy Taylor said: “Our ethos is the best possible start in life through nautical adventure and fun. Our core values are discipline, commitment, loyalty, honesty, self-discipline and integrity and we try to instill these over the course of a six-day voyage on board the vessel.
“We can provide life skills, giving young people life-changing opportunities to help them prepare for their journey into adult life. During a six-day voyage the biggest benefit they will learn is team-work – nothing happens on board without team-work, discipline and structure – how to integrate and interact.
“We have had cadets from Orkney before who have travelled down to the south coast to join the ship – that in itself is quite an adventure for them. Our residential members come from all over and they need to learn how to interact with others from different parts of the country. Sometimes they are a little shy and they have to find their place within the team but it’s all about learning to interact and work effectively and efficiently as part of a team.
“We witness the change in the young people throughout the six days, gaining confidence through taking them out of their natural environment and comfort zone. Many of the crew over the years were also sea cadets themselves at one time. We would encourage youngsters to give it a go – if you don’t try, you will never know. The staff are very supportive, professional and friendly.”
TS Royalist is a 34m sail training brig, owned and operated by the Marine Society and Sea Cadets. She was launched in 2015 and normally provides life-changing six-day residential voyages for young people aged 13-18 from around the United Kingdom.
Owing to COVID-19, they remain unable to offer residential activities, but have instead developed secure day sail activities called “Taster Days” which are being delivered on weekends and in the school holidays so as not to affect critical education catch-up.
As the ship was only in Orkney for one night, the evening visit was offered to the local Sea Cadet Unit.
Jim Buck, Orkney Islands Council Head of Marine Services, Transportation and Harbour Master said: “The TS Royalist was a welcome sight at Scapa pier and it’s great to hear of the enthusiasm of some of our young sea cadets, who have the potential to become Orkney’s next generation of sea farers.
“Although only a short taster session on board the vessel, the experience thanks to the fantastic crew on board has obviously resonated with many of the young people who are keen to test their sea legs and take their experience to a new level once residential trips are once again allowed to resume.”