A TRIP of a lifetime!
That was the message from a group of young people who yesterday arrived back in Hartlepool after a week-long adventure on board a tall ship.
Nine tired teenagers, eight of who were from the town, got a taste of life at sea during the once-in-a-lifetime trip aboard the James Cook.
It was all hands on deck for the youngsters who were hard at work for up to 10 hours at a time since leaving Ipswich last week.
As reported in the Mail earlier this week, the youngsters were sponsored on their trip by national organisation 41 Club, the association for ex-members of the Round Table, for the voyage with sail training charity, Ocean Youth Trust North (OYT North.)
The charity selected each youngster on the basis that they would benefit from the trip and learn some vital skills.
Andrew Keay, 16 from the Fens area of Hartlepool, is a member of the Tees and Hartlepool Sailing Club and said he thoroughly enjoyed the adventure.
The Hartlepool College of FE student said: “It was hard work and tiring, but an absolutely brilliant experience.
“I think the hardest part of all was how cramped it was.
“We had never met each other before we set sail, but we all got on very well.
“And to come into my home town was brilliant, it capped it all off.”
For Karl Preston, 16, who lives in the Manor area of Hartlepool, it was his first taste of life on board a tall ship.
He became aware of the opportunity after a teacher had mentioned it at school and he jumped at the chance.
The Dyke House Sports and Technology College pupil said: “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“I was expecting it to be good, but not that good.
“It was hard work, but it makes you realise just what it is like out at sea.”
The captain of the James Cook, Grace Metcalfe, said the trip will stay with the youngsters forever.
She told the Mail: “What an adventure.
“They have sailed 260 miles and have done absolutely brilliantly.
“The group have demonstrated brilliant teamwork as well as social skills and of course sailing skills.
“They were having to wake up at 2am on some days to set sail, and would be working hard for hours on end.
“It has been a fantastic experience for them and I am sure they will all take away their own memories.”