Experience of a lifetime for Navy doctor

Published on Young Endeavour (author), ABCSO Steven Thomson (photographer)

Lieutenant Tenille Chapman onboard Sail Training Ship Young Endeavour during the first leg of its world voyage. (photo: ABCSO Steven Thomson)
Lieutenant Tenille Chapman onboard Sail Training Ship Young Endeavour during the first leg of its world voyage.

Lieutenant Tenille Chapman has been a Navy doctor for little more than a year, but she has already had the experience of a lifetime as part of the staff crew in Australia’s national sail training ship STS Young Endeavour’s during the ship's 2015 World Voyage.

Lieutenant Chapman completed four months onboard after setting sail from Sydney in December. Since then the 44m brigantine-rigged tall ship has sailed to New Zealand, across the Pacific and Southern Oceans, around Cape Horn and up the coast of South America, across the Atlantic and through the Mediterranean.

The Royal Australian Navy crew, along with three voyage crews of 24 youth from Australia and New Zealand, visited ports in Argentina, Brazil, Cape Verde Islands and Spain, and sailed passages through the Messina Strait in Italy and the Corinth Canal in Greece.

The highlight for Lieutenant Chapman was the ship’s participation in the Centenary of Anzac commemorations at the Gallipoli Peninsula.

“Many of the World Voyagers have personal connections to the First World War, and having the opportunity to experience where it all began I think for many remains intangible," she said.

"As a Navy officer this is particularly poignant for me.”

The posting to Young Endeavour was an opportunity for Lieutenant Chapman to step out of her comfort zone. Although embarked as the Medical Officer, she assumed the role of Watch Leader for Youth Crew watches throughout the voyage.  

“I spent 8-12 hours plus per day with my watch explaining the ins-and-outs of sail handling, rope work, navigation and seamanship, hourly rounds and keeping lookouts, climbing the mast to cast loose gaskets or sea furl or just watch the sunset together.

“One thing my experience on Young Endeavour taught me is that life is all about challenges.

“I went from never having set foot on a tall ship before, to becoming proficient in teaching others how to sail her.”

Lieutenant Chapman is now preparing for her next role as HMAS Melbourne’s Medical Officer for the upcoming Middle East deployment.

“Life is never dull as a Navy doctor.

“I encourage anybody thinking of joining to consider the experiences I’ve had so far, I have the best job in the world.”

Lieutenant Chapman’s Captain’s Log entry describing her experiences can be found at http://www.youngendeavour.gov.au/whats_happening/captains_log.php?logid=2759.