Sail Training Ship Young Endeavour has returned to Australia following the Sydney Auckland Tall Ship Regatta and the ship's New Zealand Voyage Program. It was Young Endeavour's first overseas visit in seven years, and the young Australians on board certainly made the most of it, spending several weeks exploring the Bay of Islands, Cook Strait and the East Cape.
The only Australian entrant in what was the first international Tall Ship Race to be held in Australasia, Young Endeavour took an early lead before heading into rough seas and strong winds gusting up to 65 knots. The 24-strong youth crew had a great time re-learning the ropes under the guidance of the ship's Navy crew, taking a little under ten days to complete the thousand mile race.
The passage home took a little longer, with ten Navy crew, 20 youth crew and one stowaway from Spirit of New Zealand enjoying a thirteen day voyage - seven days out of sight of land in the Tasman Sea. In addition to a full program of Young Endeavour deck games, this allowed time to explore Australia's maritime history, climb aloft to the topgallant yard to see the sun and moon rise above the horizon, and learn specialised skills such as celestial navigation.
In total 72 young Australians had the opportunity to sail the ship across the Tasman or along the east coast of New Zealand.
Youth Crew Captain Liz Johnston, who sailed the ship back to Sydney, thanked the staff crew who made the voyage possible - “It's an adventure we will never forget!”
Applications are now open for Young Endeavour voyages in 2014. Apply online at http://www.youngendeavour.gov.au for your chance to sail!