Martin Symons

Promoting Challenges for Disabled People

Sailing Adventure  Hamburg - Chatham, Kent via Netherlands 1989



The Samuel Whitbread was part of the fleet of sailing vessels owned by the Ocean Youth Club, now Ocean Youth Trust, to enter in the Tall Ships race. Young people had the opportunity to crew the Samuel Whitbread back to England over a 2 week period. 

 The Adventure

Day 1 Friday 14th July

I left home at 08.00am for London to meet the Ocean Youth Club at 11.00am. I arrived in London at 09.40am. I waited for Heidi for about 50 minutes but she didn't turn up. So I left (she turns up just as I left Victoria Station. I joined another group who were actually going to be travelling to Germany with us, to walk to Bresenden Place.

10.30am. Heidi who works at Fairbridge Drake where I went ~ weeks previous, arrived with her friend Elliot. Then came a long fleet of coaches.

 12.15pm We boarded and set of to catch a ferry at Dover bound for Ostend. I get to meet the other members who were going to crew our yacht, the. Samuel Whitbread. They turned out to be good bunch, a bit noisy but alright

14.30pm We arrived at Dover. before we could board the ferry.We waited for about 45 minutes.

 16.00pm We boarded the ferry and set sail for Ostend. We had tea and chatted and got to know people more. The crossing took 4 hours.

 20.00pm Arrived in Ostend (Belgium). Got back on the coach and started a 10 hour journey to Hamburg. I cannot remember what time we crossed the boarder into Germany because I was a sleep. By now people were either listening to their walkmans, reading or sleeping. We made one stop in the night so people could stretch their bodies or do their nessities but that’s the only time we set foot on Belgium soil.

 Day 2 Saturday 15th July at 07.30am

 We finally arrived in Hamburg and had breakfast on the Samuel Whitbread then had a look around the other tall ships while the crew (the ones who sailed her here in the race) cleaned her out ready for the next crew (us). We came back a couple of hour~ later and had an early lunch.

 15.30pm I went on a coach tour around Hamburg. Didn't learn much because there was no interpreter, but the sights were good.

 19.00pm We all went partying around other ships. called the Kookry. I tried gin for the first time (God! Never again).

 We got back to the Samuel Whitbread at midnight it was time for me to hit the sack for the next 4 hours. I was completely zonked

 Day 3 Sunday 16th July

 09.00am We got up, had breakfast and cleared up and then went of for the morning around the docks.

13.00pm We got ready to sail for Cux Haven.  As a crew of one, we were split into 3 watch teams, 4 hours  watch on and 6 hours off. We sail for about 10 hours today. The sea was choppy and I was getting sea sick. It too} time for me to find my sea legs. It was our team to watch first. For this we had to look out for other sailing vessels, put the sails up. (the sails didn't go up all the time, depending on the weather and where we were). We had to do other things as well like pulling ropes, coiling them amongst other things. This way my first time, for others they had done it before.

20.00pm It was our team watch again. so we sang folk songs to keep a wake. It can get dull at times. At !1pm our watch finished and we all went to bed.

 Day 4 Monday 17th  July

 01.30am IN THE MORNING!!  I woke up suddenly by a big jerk.  We had arrived in Cux Haven. After the whole crew did their prospective jobs and then we all went to bed.

 08.30am Breakfast of cereal. Then went and had a look around the town. Quiet day apart from a water war late afternoon and a sing a long with the other OYC yachts in the evening.

 Day 5 Tuesday 18th July

 08.00am Breakfast of eggybread and beans. again. I went of to the town again.

 14.00pm We had a Tug-of-war with a couple of other the ship teams.

 17.00pm It was my turn to help cook dinner with Elliot. We did spaggy bog for 7pm. After dinner some of us  went around  the other tall ships to collect boat stamps.

 Day 6 Wednesday 19th July

 09.50am We set off down river to get diesel and fill up. ~ takes quite a while.

11.25am We started off on our journey to Tershcelling, one of the Islands part of the Netherlands. Elliot and I started the lunch.

14.00pm Lunch was scrumptious. Something people would never make a habit of doing all the time, mixing previous nights dinner!

 16.00pm I sat at the stern looking at the horizon. We were at a tilt.

 17.20pm I went to bed to rest as it was my off duty.

 19.20pm I woke up to have dinner. It was a roast, God knows how it was done, with all the ups and downs and the swaying to and fro.

20.00pm It was my team to watch again. All is quite apart from a few lights and ships. I had a go at steering.

 23.00pm Watch finished. Time to turn in for 6 hours.

 Day 7 Thursday 20th July

 O5.45am I was woken for watch duty. As I got out of bed, the boat tilted to .the starboard side and and because I was sleeping on the port side I went flying into the sail mast pole and smacked my head hard. Half an hour later, I was still struggling with my oil skins. Someone else helped me with the safety harness. Then went on deck. Just as I got to the top I put my hand on a load of puke someone had done and not cleared up. All is quiet and boring so we sang a few songs. I was at the helm for some of the time.

 08.00am Watch finished. Boiled eggs for breakfast and Jerry had to go and drop his on the floor. After 45 minutes  I went of to bed for a few hours then was woken by the changing of the watch (the other 2 teams).

 11.30am Mark and Colin start lunch and Helen (bosun, in othe1 words, caretaker) and Heidi play at being Mums at baking cakes.

 12.05pm The wind has gone and the engine is turned on. We started motoring.

 Apart from having to be on watch again and cleaning the heads (toilets) we had a quiet afternoon.

 20.00pm We arrived in Tershelling where the OYC boats were already moored and later on  we went to the bar (pub) for a drink.

 Day 8 Friday 21st July

 07.30am Got woken up early because we had to let a couple of boats out.

 10.00am Terri and I went to look around the village. It was nice place. I brought a pear of gross luminous braces.

 Day 9 Saturday 22nd July

 Up late!. Left Terschelling at 09.20am and was sailing with main, mizzen and No l sails up. Arrived  at Konwerderzand Lock. I tied a fender to the side of the boat but it fell into the canal after a while. Jerry who was on the keyside had to stay and get it out of the water and had to walk a mile up the canal to get back on the boat.

 21.40pm Arrived at Enkhuizen for the night.

 Day 10 Sunday 23rd July

 09.30am We left Enkhuizen and it was a lovely hot day. We went through Enkhuizen Lock. At midday we all went swimming in the Dutch sea. I had to be held because I wasn't a strong swimmer and I couldn't tread water.

 18.00pm We arrive in Amsterdam alongside Spirit of Boadicia.

 Day 11 Monday 24th July

 We stayed all day in Amsterdam. It was another hot day. I was hoisted up to the top of the mast where I had a terrific view of Amsterdam. I took mass of photos. I was at least 50ft high.

 18.30pm We set sail once again ready for sea. On watch until

 20.00pm. I was at the helms (wheel). The topping lift came undone after I went to bed. Apparently it came down with a thump, but I was dead to the world.


Day 12 Tuesday 25th July

I was on watch at 2am in the morning!. sea was very calm (as usual) and we came into sight of land.

 03.00am We arrived in Scheveninge harbour alongside Boadicia again. Once the mooring jobs were done we all went to bed. ] only got 4 hours sleep because I was on breakfast duty with Elliot at 07.30am. I spent the morning shopping.

 13.30am We left Scheveninge to sail for Helloetsluis. We had a race with Boadicia and we were in the lead but Boadicia cheated and cut across the channel, taking risks with the shallow water and then they put the Genoa up and they said wouldn't have it up.

 Day 13 Wednesday 26th July

 We had a massive clear up this morning. At 11.00am I went to the town with Tim, Heidi and Helen. We looked around, and I brought souvenirs then we all went for a drink.

13.10pm We had lunch and then afterwards we set sail for Rams­gate at

13.50pm. It was our watch first. By now I was starting to feel tired and weary, but I troddled on to help do dinner. I went to bed for an hour before the 23.00pm watch.

 Day 14 Thursday 27th July

 02.00am  Finished watch and went to bed. I was woken at 07.20am for breakfast and watch duty again.

 10.20am watch finished.

 10.50am We arrived in Ramsgate. Whithin quater of an hour, we cleared customs, but we stayed there for 4 hours. When we left we nearly forgot Colin who was late. All of us who had log book did their competent crew course, (yes! even me).

 14.50pm The last leg of our journey. We were off to Chatham, Heidi and Elliot got off at Ramsgate as they live there.

 20.00pm On watch duty, we entered the River Medway at the Isle of Sheppy.

23.00pm We arrived at St. Mary's Pier at Chatham then sorted ourselves out then went to bed.

Day 15 Friday 28th July

07.00am We moved up river to the main dockyard. Tim and I did breakfast for 07.30am. We had to tidy up for the press and Radio to come on board.

10.30am Chatham News arrives. We all have a picture taken for the papers.

 11.00am Evening Post comes. I get an interview. After speaking to the reporter I get into the dingy as part of my competent  crew course, but I got out again because a reporter from Radio Kent wanted to interview me. After that, back into the dingy to finish the C.C.C but I wasn't able to do it because the wind and the current was too strong for rowing.

 14.45pm A major clean up began. Terri's team did the builgers (the very bottom of the boat from stern to the top of the boat) , And Dave's team (me) did all the floor boards.

 19.00pm We all went ashore to go to the pub for a final drink before we depart tomorrow.

 O8.OOam We got up and had breakfast. Some of the crew departed after breakfast and 3 of us left stayed to clean all the bunks.

 12 MIDDAY I departed to meet Mum at the main gates of the Historic Dockyard.

 And so a great sailing adventures ends. Sailing from Germany int the Netherlands and around some of the Islands.


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