Emily is riding the crest of a wave
An ex JCSC student has made the trip of a lifetime on board a Tall Ships yacht as an ambassador for the North Sea Tall Ships Regatta – Blyth 2016.
Emily Runciman aged 17, answered an advert for a bursary giving a young person a chance to join the crew of the Black Diamond of Durham as a volunteer sailing to the Tall Ships Belfast 2015 event.
The bursary, sponsored by Active Northumberland and the Port of Blyth, provided a 14-day taste of maritime adventure. Emily spent 10 days at sea on board the Class ‘C’ Tall Ship yacht, sailing from Hartlepool to Belfast via the Caledonian Canal and Loch Ness.
Emily, who grew up in Amble told The Ambler: “ I had never sailed before so it was a jump in at the deep end for me, but I took the chance.“Within the trip I’ve done practically everything there is to do on the yacht: helm, map navigation, cooking, being on watch during overnight sails, taking the sail up and down. There are so many things to do which kept me busy!
“Boarding the boat to leave for Belfast… It all hit me that I’m going away from home doing something madly out of my experience and comfort zone.
The first few days weren’t too bad as we were learning the ropes. Then we had to do a night sail which was awful. Four hours on and four hours off had to be the most exhausting thing ever. I just couldn’t wait to get to Belfast as I was so tired! “However as we went through the Caledonian Canal, we couldn’t sail at night which meant we could have a bit of fun…at the pub!”
The ship arrived in Belfast on 1 July, where the trainees enjoyed the fun, excitement, entertainment and activities of the Crew Parade, Crew Prize-giving and Crew Party before departing on 5 July.
Emily said: “The race from Belfast to Alesund was so nerve wracking. It took a lot of caffeine to get us there but it was worth it in the end. We came 4th in our category, which I think was great considering we were racing against loads of racing yachts which the Black Diamond isn’t.
Emily said: “I have had a brilliant time on board the Black Diamond. It can be challenging at times but it’s very rewarding in the end and has given me a real sense of achievement.
“I would highly recommend taking part in the Tall Ships training programme to anyone as it is an unforgettable experience. It encourages you to get involved in something new, and you learn new skills and how to work as part of a crew. Bruce Ledger from Active Northumberland/Northumberland Sport said: “Emily is a fantastic ambassador for the county and we were delighted to sponsor her to be a member of the crew on a Tall Ship voyage.
The main drive behind the Races is to provide an opportunity for young people to develop their personal skills in a challenging and memorable sail-training environment and at least 50% of a Tall Ship’s crew must be aged 15-25 years.
For further information relating to Sail Training and The Tall Ships Races – please visit the website www.sailtraininginternational.org and for the Tall Ship, Black Diamond of Durham – visit www.sailingnortheast.co.uk