The chance to sail on the Spirit of New Zealand was grabbed with both hands by two Whangaparāoa College Year 12 students last year.
Gulf Harbour Yacht Club and the college co-sponsored Isabelle Booth and Joshua Ahn so they could get on board separate 10-day development voyages on the Spirit of Adventure Trust’s tall ship.
On February 25, in an event delayed by lockdowns, yacht club members and guests were treated to a presentation by the students describing their on-board experiences and the life-changing benefits of their voyages.
It included many anecdotes of their time living “like sardines in a can” on board the ship. They described the early morning swims, climbing to the top of the masts (where the views were incredible), and handling the ship in strong winds and high seas – in fact the whole voyage was based on ‘learning by doing’.
The students said that they enjoyed meeting others from very different backgrounds – forming enduring friendships.
This once in a lifetime opportunity also gave the two students a new level of self-empowerment, increased their understanding of others, and boosted their self-confidence and leadership capabilities significantly – Joshua went on to become the college’s head boy and Isabelle a prefect.
Over summer, Isabelle also joined a Vickers 95 sailboat as the third crew member sailing in a rally from Opua, Bay of Islands, round Cape Reinga, down the west coast to the Abel Tasman National Park.
Gulf Harbour Yacht Club recently co-funded another student for a 10-day development voyage on the Spirit of New Zealand which is set to take place later this month.