All the wiser

Zoe Wise (front row, second from left) with her watch on board the national sail training ship, Young Endeavour in August.

Experience. Smithton teenager Zoe Wise has completed the voyage of a lifetime on board the Young Endeavour.

The Young Endeavour Youth Scheme is a not-for-profit organisation providing young Australians aged 16-23 with a unique and challenging sailing experience.

The youth development program sees 24 youngsters set sail for an adventure aboard the national sail training ship, covering the waters of Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales, Northern Territory and Queensland.

Individuals are selected by ballot and join Royal Australian Navy crew on the 12-day voyage, where they learn the skills of sailing a square-rigged tall ship and more.

Zoe, 16, shares her experience with readers.

How did you come to be on the Young Endeavour?

I saw an ad on Facebook and thought it would be a good experience and something completely different to what I would usually do. I wanted to throw myself into something that would challenge me. I applied thinking I wouldn’t get in and when I found out that I was accepted, I was excited but it didn’t really hit me ’til a few days before that I was actually going to go!

Where did you go?

I travelled from Cairns in Queensland to Gove at the tip of Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. We went around Cape York Peninsula stopping at Thursday Island and Prince of Wales Island in the Torres Strait. The whole experience lasted 13 days. Being on a tall ship surrounded by ropes, sails and sea was an adventure I will never forget.

Who was on board and what did you do?

The Young Endeavour crew were formed into three watches when we got on board. Each watch was given a station and allocated a watch shift each day. The type of duties we performed included setting sails, taking sails down, keeping watch on both port and starboard, steering the helm, navigation, galley duties, checking fridge temperature and monitoring the engine room machinery. Everyone contributed to ‘happy hour’ which involved cleaning duties. I got the lucky pick of cleaning the boys’ bathroom every day!

The first part of the trip was focused on training the youth crew to gain the skills to sail the ship completely independent of the naval crew for 24 hours. It was a huge challenge and I think I managed three hours’ sleep over that period but I felt a great sense of achievement at the end of it.

Who did you meet?

It was interesting meeting such a variety of different people and socialising with characters I wouldn’t usually get to know. Working in such a close team environment helped me to learn a lot about myself and others. We all had to combine as a team and put aside differences in order to work together to get the job done. This brought us all close together.

I like the changed outlook on life the trip gave me. Putting myself into a situation where I had to force myself out of my comfort zone every day was challenging, but at the end became very rewarding as I made many friendships and gained a stronger sense of confidence.

What did you love most?

Climbing the masts is a standout experience. I loved the challenge of climbing, of balancing on my toes for up to an hour unravelling the masts, tying or untying knots.

I also loved the opportunity to travel and see things I had never witnessed before, to connect to others all around our country.

What were the challenges?

Lack of sleep and physical demands, continually having to push my body hard.

Would you recommend it to others?

I would absolutely recommend it to others!



To read about Zoe’s trip day by day, visit:

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