Hartlepool pupils enjoy life on the ocean wave

Children from Catcote Academy excelled in a five-day sailing residential course. Pics: Paul Sowerby.

Children from Catcote Academy excelled in a five-day sailing residential course. Pics: Paul Sowerby.

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Pupils from a Hartlepool school rode the crest of a wave after taking part in a five-day sailing residential course.

Nine children from Catcote Academy, based in Catcote Road, were involved in the scheme, which saw students and five staff from the school split into teams for sailing, cooking and cleaning.

It all started at Hartlepool Marina, where the boat departed at midnight before anchoring off Newbiggin Bay.

They then took a motorboat and spent the day on Newbiggin beach, before later sailing up through the Farne Islands and anchoring off Holy Island, where they spent the day sightseeing.

The boat later docked at Amble, with the pupils able to explore the town, and they eventually returned to Hartlepool after five days, arriving outside the marina at about 1am before entering at 4am.

During the course, the pupils planned their meals and budget, and were involved in night sails as they navigated in three-hour shifts during the night. All students also took shifts for cooking and cleaning.

It was a fantastic experience for the pupils, who will have taken an awful lot from it

Paul Sowerby

Paul Sowerby, lead ICT & e-safety at the school who helped to organise the event, said: “It was a fantastic experience for the pupils, who will have taken an awful lot from it.

“One or two of them have said they want to look further into doing it as a volunteer themselves, having had a brilliant experience.

“When we were not sailing, cooking or cleaning, we got the opportunity to play group games, plot the route and chat about the things we did during the day.

“They were all challenged in one way or another, based on their ability.

“It was a physical and mental challenge, so it wasn’t for everyone, but we got a good team together.”

Rev Bill Broad, the founder of the Cirdan Sailing Trust, contributed £1,500 towards the residential course, and also helped organise it.

The trust aims to give disadvantaged children the chance to explore sailing.

He said: “Sailing gives young people a level playing field in which to work and allows new skills to emerge.

“The North East has a rich sea heritage and ship- building history. It brings something of that back to young people.

“It instils discipline. You have to follow the rules– for example, going down the ladders backwards or being clipped on. The rules are there to keep you safe.

“Young people can see this and the potential problems of not following the rules. They can hopefully take this discipline into their everyday life.”