EXCITEMENT was the shared feeling among 40 young people who were fortunate enough to set sail on a Tall Ships Youth Trust residential voyage on Monday.

This week marks a huge milestone in the charity’s return to residential sailing following the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic, which stopped the youth development charity from running overnight voyages last March.

However, following Government easing of restrictions in May and recent Trustees’ approval it can now take school group bubbles on residential voyages.

The first school voyage took place last week with St Michael’s Middle School in Wimborne with nine pupils joining Challenger 1 for four nights.

Then on Monday, all four Challengers departed Portsmouth with crews from three different schools.

Challengers 2 and 4 went out first with two groups from Dulwich Prep London.

Then Challengers 1 and 3 followed late afternoon with two Cross Keys Homes-funded voyages from Ken Stimpson Community School and Queen Katharine Academy in Peterborough.

Rachel Patman, Careers Coordinator at Ken Stimpson Community College, said: “The past year has been so tough on our young people. When they returned from remote learning, we really noticed how much they had missed out on socialising, they had forgotten how to talk to one another in class.

“This is why these voyages with Tall Ships Youth Trust are so important in helping to rebuild their confidence and wellbeing.”

Meanwhile onboard Challenger 3 Alfie-Jack Day(14), from Queen Katharine Academy, said: “I feel really happy to have this experience. I’m most looking forward to jumping off the boat and hoisting the sails.”

Stay tuned to Tall Ships Youth Trust's social media and website vessel blog pages for updates on all four voyages throughout this week. 😊

Tall Ships Youth Trust has put in place covid-safe sailing protocols that include social distancing measures, regular cleaning of the vessels, hand sanitising and daily temperature checks for all crew members. In addition, the young people and sailing staff can only embark on their voyage following a rapid lateral flow covid test showing a negative result.