Leisure Link Push The Boat Out

Published by EnviroAbility on 11th of October 2018

Daniel, Harvey, Gail and Bev

Our intreped sailors awaiting embarkation at Dartmouth - Daniel, Harvey, Gail and Bev with SV Tenacious in the background

"What an utterly fantastic and amazing experience of our life times!"

In Early September 2018, Harvey Sayce, Daniel Bailey, Beverly Humble and Gail Sayce all took to the water on a sailing trip aboard The SV Tenacious. Harvey and Daniel first met through Enviroability's project Leisure Link, through this a lovely friendship has blossomed. Leisure Link was originally set up to integrate people with learning disabilities into the community, however many others for a variety of reasons, who also find it difficult to access other social networks, enjoy the friendly, welcoming atmosphere of Leisure Link. They organised a sailing trip on the tenacious and have documented their experience below:

We sailed away on Tenacious, a square sailed 895 ton sailing ship, owned and built by the Jubilee Sailing Trust, on a 5 day voyage from picturesque Dartmouth to the busy port of Portsmouth along the Jurassic Coast.

We carried out our voyage with 30 voyagers and 12 permanent crew, we ate, slept and worked together with much laughter and jolliness, people from all areas of the UK and Italy.

They Say a boat never sleeps, this is so true. Team work was upper most, each of us being part of watch (team) we were back right side of the boat - Starboard Aft watch, Drew was our watch leader, who, may I say, did a fab job teaching and leading us - by the way he is partially sighted.

Each person was given one  mess duty - cooking, serving and washing up, either up with the Lark at 6:30am or down with the First Dog (first Star) about 8 pm. Each day we had two, 2 hour watches, set times, from and to  12:00 midnight. Alarm clocks were not necessary as the last watch woke you up, before diving into their own bunks, (that's for night watches) though some times in the day too if the energy levels were low.

Harvey at the wheel

On watch we took turns as a Helmsman, (steering the ship) on Starboard and Port watch,  watching as  there are blind spots on the radar,  we saw lots of lobster pots and yacht's heading towards us, we even had  to prevent passengers with out tickets entering ( at anchor in Dartmouth),also  taking readings, sea state(force1-10)  wind direction and speed, wet and dry temps and direction of the ship all these had to be entered into the ships log. At night we also had to log the position of the ship (in case we drifted from anchor). Night watch was fab, fresh and cooler and most nights we had stars for our lighting.

All skills of sailors were learned,   working as a team to hold, pull, and ease, on the ropes, preparing and putting away  the ropes on the pins (coiling)  we even  learned some of the lingo! We learned how to pull on the sheets ( with ropes) to change and set the yard arms, to pull down and take up the sails (5 on each of the three masts and 2 additional side sails). The sails were used as much of each day as possible to guide us along, when wind was In the wrong direction we had to use motors.

Daniel learning the ropes

Climbing up to the next level of sails, to the crows nest - what fun that was  seeing Harvey winched up ( all people power of course) in his wheel chair ,he was so confident and trusting as he swayed with the movement of the ship going higher and higher, he must have been up there at least an hour apparently discussing work that needed to be done up there with some of the crew .We even agreed to ease him down for the cost of a drink.

Other climbers donned their safety harnesses and climbed up the rigging clamping on as we went  all of us having the support we needed, believe me we all needed  it, we seemed to forget which was our left foot and which was our right foot, we all made it up to the crows nest, so worth the climb what views! Some of us even climbed across on the yard arm going further and further out  making room for each other, that really did give you the feeling of freedom and flying, Some had fears of heights and those who chose to do it, did it with total support and encouragement, they were the ones who achieved the most.

Swimming at Chapmans's Pool

On Day 3 we anchored at Chapman's pool, out at sea,  no houses no cars no people could be seen. The sun was still visible, Captain announced those who wanted to swim out at sea could, Daniel shot down below and put his shorts straight on and was back up on deck like flash lightening. Tentavly he climbed down the side of the boat on the rope ladder and dipped into the cool clear waters his "Its Amazing!" told us how good it was for him. He then went the whole hog and climbed back on board and took a running jump off the top of the gang plank with an enormous "AMAZING!!" as he flew though the air into the waters. Swimming freely was truly envigorating with all those who had taken the plunge.

Responding to a ship in distress near by was interesting, they sent out a mayday - they were out of Tartar sauce! Our cook quickly whizzed some up, put it in water tight container and we tried to get it across to them but sadly the winds did not die down enough to enable this, so we sent the recipe, before sailing past all the crew from our ship and from their's did a  Mexican wave  to say our fair wells

Towards the end of our voyage, it was announced that we were about to have happy Hour, Great, we thought, only to have our hopes dashed , this turned out to be cleaning hour, Starboard watches (Aft and Fore)  upper deck. Port  watches (Aft and Fore) lower deck, and just to even it up we had another happy hour so we all did upper and lower decks, great team work though.Whole ship done in one hour worth trying at home with your families it worked!

Each  Tenacious Crew member tried to sum up the best bits about the voyage, and every one of us we all gave up and said The Whole Thing . An utterly Fantastic, Inclusive experience of a Life Time for each and every one of us from all walks and wheelchairs of life.

P.S. We are planning our next adventure!!

Daniel, Harvey, Gail and Bev on board SV Tenacious

Any one who would like to find out more about this voyage we plan to share the experience with more pictures and memories at a leisure link night keep your eyes peeled we will advertise it. Also if you would like us to come and share our adventure with you or a group please let us know we would be happy to come along.

Daniel, Harvey, Gail and Bev

Project: Leisure Link