It may have been wet and dismal in Sydney when the crew of Sail Training Ship Young Endeavour returned on 17 March, but the weather didn’t dampen the spirits of the crew as they returned from an unforgettable 12-month voyage circumnavigating the world.
Commanding Officer Young Endeavour, Lieutenant Commander Gavin Dawe, who is on his third posting to the ship, and second as Commanding Officer, said the voyage had a number of highlights.
“Sailing around Cape Horn was a high point of the voyage because not many ships or captains go that way anymore,” he said.
“Participating in a sail-past with other warships at the Centenary of Anzac Dawn Service at Gallipoli, and later laying a wreath, was a really moving experience, especially with the young crew.”
Lieutenant Commander Dawe said what he enjoyed most about Young Endeavour was the youth development program.
“It’s a really good program as far as self-development is concerned,” he said.
“We’re seeing young Australians grow through their experiences in the ship.
“We put through 24-27 young people on an 11-day voyage and we had 208 over the course of the round-the-world voyage.
“I’ve seen more than 2,000 young Australians go through the program.”
According to Lieutenant Commander Dawe, people benefited from the experience because it got them out of their comfort zone.
“They learn to work as part of a team and it takes them away from their normal experiences,” he said.
Lieutenant Commander Dawe said Navy members who volunteered for a posting to the ship underwent an 11-day suitability assessment and if they made the grade they were posted to the ship for two years.
“There are 15 Navy staff members who work with Young Endeavour, but only nine actually in the ship,” he said.
“They work on rotations of 12 days’ duration with two voyages on and one off.”
When Young Endeavour isn’t at sea, she goes through twice-yearly maintenance cycles with six weeks in April-May, and two to three weeks in September.
Executive Director Young Endeavour Youth Scheme Stephen Moss welcomed the ship’s return to Australia, marking the completion of a five-year project to undertake a circumnavigation of the world.
“The scheme has been offering voyages in Young Endeavour for over 28 years, providing development opportunities for more than 12,500 young Australians, and a further 10,000 youth from organisations supporting those with special needs,” Mr Moss said.
“To have provided the opportunity for more than two hundred young Australians and thirty Navy crew members to represent Australia on the world stage, particularly at the Anzac Centenary Commemoration, and the Tall Ships Race, is a remarkable achievement.
“I am proud to have led the small team that achieved this. Its dedication and hard work behind the scenes has, for the best of reasons, gone on mostly unnoticed.
“This included the planning of the entire 2015 world voyage and port visit program, the excellent logistic support to Young Endeavour, and the coordination of youth crew joining and departures in all overseas ports – all of which was outstanding.
“A tall ship provides a unique and powerful environment to conduct outdoor education because it immerses trainees in novel and completely unfamiliar situations where they are compelled to adapt,” Mr Moss said.