Image: Ocean Youth Trust South

In August 2019 15 Dorset teenagers set sail with the Ocean Youth Trust South for their first ever sailing experience.  As the official charity of The Poole Harbour Boat Show 2019 the voyage was funded by generous donations from exhibitors and visitors to the show.  A key goal of the show is encouraging new people out onto the water and the boat show team were keen to find out how the group got on.

Caroline White, Business Manager from Ocean Youth Trust South, described their five night voyage on Prolific.

The voyage

The crew members joined Prolific in Brixham, Devon, where they promptly left the mooring, setting off on an evening sail to Dartmouth.  Straight in at the deep end!  From Dartmouth, they navigated in a strong breeze with all sails set, down the coast to Plymouth Sound – anchoring overnight in Cawsand bay.  This early leg of the journey was challenging with Prolific heeling heavily and a number of the crew experiencing seasickness before finding their sea legs.  However, a friendly pod of dolphins swimming alongside made it worth the battle.  From Cawsand they sailed back up the coast to Salcombe where everyone went ashore for a game of football on the beach and a well deserved ice cream.  The next day saw the crew helm Prolific back to Brixham, via Hope Cove for lunch and fishing. After hot showers and a good nights sleep it was time to do the long leg back to Dorset, for a tricky night time pilotage into Poole.

During the journey all members of the crew were able to develop boating skills. They began to master knot tying, navigation, helming, sail hoisting as well as the more routine tasks of cooking and cleaning.  A number of the crew were also able to put their leadership skills to the test when splitting into two groups to plan and undertake the night time pilotage into Poole Harbour.

Memorable moments

The group were privileged to encounter several pods of dolphins during their trip.  Watching dolphins from the bowsprit whilst sailing to Brixham was a particularly memorable experience, as was the incredible sunset in Studland Bay on the final evening.  An RNLI escort into Poole topped off the voyage.


The entire crew earned RYA Start Yachting certificates having mastered the basic sailing skills. They also showed determination and team work, listening carefully to instructions and then practising tasks until they were able to succeed. Their success made all the greater being away from home in a new environment, with unfamiliar people.  Each and every crew member should feel extremely proud.  They all achieved so much despite several tasks being challenging at first.

What next?

They boarded Prolific as 15 individuals, but left as a tight-knit crew, having made friends for life through the shared experience of the highs, lows and lasting memories.  Of the 15 crew, 4 members received sea staff recommendations, with another 2 being identified as having potential to be sea staff.  This means that they impressed the skipper enough to be asked back to train as a volunteer for future trips.  They have shown enthusiasm, the ability to have fun whilst staying safe and following all the rules and routines on board.  In short they have the potential to be role models and work well with other young people.

“To give back to the community by raising the funds to enable the Ocean Youth Trust South to provide these young people a thorough and fun introduction to sailing is fantastic.  A further three youths will be joining Prolific in 2020 as part of the partnership and we hope they find the experience equally rewarding.  We hope it is the start of a life long passion to be out on the water for all involved and we look forward to their updates in the future.”  Tracy Payne – Marketing Manager, Poole Harbour Boat Show

“For all of the crew, the voyage was a chance to experience something that they wouldn’t otherwise have been able to, and get out on the water.  To take them away from the challenges of their everyday lives, and develop them as individuals.  Without exception, they all came away with a renewed belief in themselves and their capabilities, and with that a new found confidence as well as a respect for others.” Caroline White, Business Manager, Ocean Youth Trust South

Anyone who wishes to find out more about Ocean Youth Trust South voyages in 2020 should visit  The Poole Boat Show 2020 runs from the 12th to 14th June and further information can be found at

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