A voyage on board Young Endeavour is not a leisure cruise, it is a sail training adventure at sea which is physically and mentally demanding. While a small professional crew from the Royal Australian Navy operates the ship and facilitates the youth development program, each youth crew member is expected to participate fully in all aspects of sailing. These activities include:
• Climbing aloft and working 30 metres above the deck to set and furl sails
• Keeping watches which may mean working extended periods and result in limited and broken sleep
• Living and working with other people in close quarters, often in arduous conditions, and
• Learning new skills and routines to ensure the safety of both the participant and shipboard safety overall.
The Young Endeavour Youth Scheme’s youth development program adheres to the principle of Challenge by Choice. The aim is for each youth crew member to participate fully and voluntarily in all activities. Each activity presents its own challenges and may take you outside your comfort zone.
While on board Young Endeavour you may decide to opt out of an activity, and this decision will be respected by all on board. Alternatively, you may elect to participate at a level of challenge at which you feel comfortable – for example, initially choosing to climb part-way up the mast, and potentially climbing further at a later stage of the voyage. You will be encouraged and supported to participate to the best of your ability.
Prior to applying for a voyage, you should be aware that at times the program may make you feel anxious or under stress which, to varying degrees, may be caused by the following challenges:
• Overcoming a natural fear of heights and living in a cramped environment onboard
• Being away from home and having limited contact with your family and friends
• Working and living in a close social environment
• Developing a keen sense of judgement and an ability to assess risk
Typically, youth crew experience some seasickness during the voyage, particularly during the first few days. Seasickness may contribute to fatigue, dehydration and an overall sense of malaise.
The weather also contributes significantly to the environment in a tall ship. You may be exposed to wind, water and spray. At times, it may be hot and uncomfortable or alternatively it may be cold for prolonged periods. These conditions can cause extended discomfort, from which there may be little ease or relief. Fatigue and a lack of sleep may also contribute to anxiety.
One of the things we ask all youth crew to do prior to joining each voyage is to complete a health questionnaire in consultation with your GP. This questionnaire, which includes information about your mental health prior to joining, will help you and us decide if this is the best time for you to participate in the program. If you have any concerns about this before applying or in the lead up to your voyage you can contact us via email or phone to find out more.
While we have identified the challenges involved in joining a tall ship crew, we also know from overwhelming alumni feedback that by successfully facing these challenges and participating fully in the program, a voyage in Young Endeavour will be one of the best experiences of your life. Approach your voyage with a positive outlook and you will become one of the many thousands of Young Endeavour Alumni for whom this will be a life changing experience.