Air Cadets from Devon & Somerset Wing have recently returned from Exercise Blue Steel, a sailing expedition aboard Challenger 4, one of several vessels operated by The Small Ships Sailing Trust.  The 72ft Challenger Yachts were built in 2000 and have all been raced around the world including participation in the BT Global Challenge.

The yachts are perfect for sail training and they provide an exciting but extremely safe environment for everyone on board. Experienced sailing Instructors were provided by the trust.

The air cadet crew joined the vessel at Portsmouth and were allocated teams, known as watches, duties were allocated including cooking and cleaning!

On the round trip from Portsmouth to Yarmouth the cadets experienced the thrill of sailing and had to learn new skills including the use of winches. They also learned about sheets, halyards and warps as well as theory lessons on using the sea and wind to their advantage. Experience using a radio and how to carry out routine engine checks was also gained. All took turns trying different tasks such tacking, trimming, helming and, most importantly getting the kettle on! The cadets had a great time and learnt new skills whilst making make new friends from other squadrons.

Service Instructor SAC (T) Tom Drew of 2381 (Ilminster) Squadron said. “We would like to thank the crew from Tall Ships Youth Trust for their time and energy over the weekend. We look forward to coming back soon.”

It soon became apparent that whilst very enjoyable, sailing can be hard work and all must act as a team whilst on board.

All agreed that the experience gained on the Solent was fun and well worthwhile.

Further sailing activities will take place in the near future.