I first heard of the YEYS when I was in year nine. Fast forward four years and I’d just received my acceptance email for V19/16 from Fremantle to Esperance! And wasn’t that the beginning of something incredible.

The Young Endeavour (YE) was like nothing I’d ever done before. Like most people who participate, I didn’t know anyone and was thus a bit apprehensive before leaving. However as soon as I’d met my fellow youth crew for lunch (just two hours before leaving, which we soon realised was a huge mistake once we got sailing) any nerves were transferred to excitement. The first couple of nights were pretty tough with most people experiencing some degree of sea-sickness, however I think this is what really developed the foundation of teamwork, camaraderie and altruism on board the ship. Despite not really knowing each other at this stage, the support and encouragement displayed by everyone on board was just phenomenal.

What I loved about the YE was that we were all equal and surrounded by like-minded people. No matter how much/little sailing experience we’d had, it was nothing like sailing a tall ship. The voyage was such an amazing learning experience specifically in terms of self-development, leadership, teamwork and commitment. Instead of being trite or corny the activities that focused on self-development were thought-out and enlightening, giving others the opportunity to help and encourage each other.

On top of this, the voyage gave me invaluable memories. The humbling feeling when sipping on hot milo throughout the ‘guts’ watch under one of the brightest night skies I’d ever seen and sunset sailing with great tunes playing in the background are moments that I will forever treasure. I loved the antics of ‘Rope Races’, swimming with a friendly seal, carrying our voyage mascot – a butternut pumpkin – for way too long, and the physical challenge of setting/furling sails with strong winds and a big swell.

I loved not having access to our phones because it meant that we really got to know each other. Without screens, we immersed ourselves in the learning that was available, supported each other when it was called for, and had a tonne of fun playing mind games and pure activities that were just pure fun. I definitely wasn’t alone in dreading the thought at having to look at my phone after nearly two weeks without it, but life moves on.

YE allowed me to appreciate that everyone has something to offer and over the 11 days aboard the ship this ranged from milo-making skills to hilariously motivational one-liners to past sailing tips & tricks. The combination of the staffies and youthies aboard V19/16 made this a life-changing epxerience where I made lifelong friends, learned many new skills and learned a lot about myself. At some stage of the voyage I noticed the ship’s logo and saw the words ‘carpe diem’ which I though was so fitting because the entire journey really encouraged me to seize the day!

Two months ago I was ecstatic to get the letter I’d written to my future self whilst on the ship. One of the things that stuck with me was a quote from one of our watch members: “Sailing is 98% confidence”. I love the sentiment however don’t know if it’s completely accurate, but I’ll leave that up to you to determine.

millicent nicholls