A program between the Navy Cadets and the Young Endeavour Youth Scheme has given one aspiring sailor a birthday present she will never forget.
Cadet Rhiannon Castle, from Training Ship Kanimbla, turned 17 onboard Navy’s sail training ship Young Endeavour during a voyage from Sydney.
The year 11 student was selected for the youth development program delivered by the Royal Australian Navy through a scholarship program between the Cadets and the scheme.
Sailing is part of the Australian Navy Cadet program, but usually on a much smaller scale than the 44 metre brigantine.
“I’m a boatswain and we sail Corsairs, which is a bit of fun,” she said.
“When my brother joined the Army four years ago, I thought the Cadets looked like a good idea, so I got involved,” Ms Castle said.
She said living onboard was a bit nerve wracking at first.
“Once you get over the initial nervousness of being around new people you become pretty good friends and face challenges together.
“I’ll always remember everyone singing Happy Birthday from the top of the yards as we came back alongside Garden Island and seeing lightning over the horizon.”
During the voyage, the youth crew learnt how to use the 10 sails, how to navigate, keep watch, cook in the galley, take the helm and climb the 30 metre mast to work aloft, setting and furling sails.
At the end they elect a command team who take full responsibility for Young Endeavour for 24 hours.
After her 11 days at sea, Ms Castle said she is considering a Defence Force career when she finishes high school.
“My brother is in the military police in the Army.
“I’m still undecided, but I’m leaning towards Navy.”
Young Endeavour is Australia’s national sail training ship and was presented to Australia by the United Kingdom for Australia’s bicentennial in 1988.
In her 29 years in service, almost 13,000 young Australians have taken part in the youth development program delivered by Navy.
Youths aged 16-23 years old can apply to sail on Young Endeavour at www.youngendeavour.gov.au.