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Preparation for life

Adam Farrell, a former tall ship trainee, tells us why it is such an incredible experience! He could not go on a tall ship this year but is helping while the crew is in Bermuda.

Question: You've been on tall ships before, what was the background to that, which ships and in what capacity?

Answer: My tall ship experience began when I signed up as trainee crew on the sail training vessel Astrid in 1995 for three months in the Caribbean. Since then I have sailed on Soren Larsen in the South Pacific in 1997, done a transatlantic crossing on Esprit in 2000, and most recently sailed to the US on Europa as part of 2009 Tall Ships races.

Q: Why did you decide to sign up to help during the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta?

A: It is a fantastic event for Bermuda. Not only does it provide the awesome spectacle of legendary ships under sail in Bermuda's waters, giving us a glimpse of what it must have looked like in Bermuda's heyday as a seafaring nation, but it also offers the opportunity for Bermudians to experience living and working at sea where they will learn skills that are invaluable in life — teamwork; discipline; punctuality and leadership. Also I want to give back as I have very much enjoyed my time on tall ships.

Q: You must have experienced quite a few things on your trips?

A: As part of the trainee crew on Astrid I was involved in the rescue of the crew of a sinking fishing boat once off Bequia which was exciting. But my favourite experiences have been perching on the bowsprit as the ship rocks gently up and down while running before the wind, going aloft to see a Caribbean sunset, or sleeping on deck under a blanket of stars. You will never see more stars than when you're out at sea!

Q: Would you recommend this to the people of Bermuda?

A: Definitely. It is a life changing experience that gets you out of your comfort zone and will give you memories to treasure always.

Q: What knowledge or skills learnt or refined as a trainee continue to serve you today?

A: Conquering your fears — going aloft to take in sail in a gale or in the dark is a daunting experience but you learn to trust in yourself and your ability in those situations because that is all you have! That helps build self-reliance and self-confidence.

Responsibility — when steering the ship, it gives you a sobering but empowering feeling that everyone aboard is depending on you for reaching their destination safely. Similarly, while on watch, everyone is relying you to spot a potentially dangerous floating object or another vessel which may be on a collision course.

Leadership — As a watch leader, you have to organise and assemble your watch to ensure they perform their duties. Diplomacy is a key skill learnt here!

Teamwork — this is vital to life at sea. You live in close quarters with people with whom you have to work day and night towards a collective goal. You will form strong friendships and learn an invaluable life skill.

Hiding sweet snacks from your wife — It is necessary to take with you some of the comforts of home on a voyage. Cookies, chocolate etc are popular choices, but beware the cookie monsters on board that will find them if you do not hide them well. You will learn to use creative hiding places to protect your bounty. An important lesson to learn in preparation for domestic life.

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Published May 25, 2017 at 4:35 pm (Updated May 25, 2017 at 4:35 pm)

Preparation for life

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