Whistl Apprentices Win Sail Race!

June 2014


Taking up a challenge to sail from Liverpool to Whitehaven via Belfast in a tall ship, without any experience, would be a daunting prospect for anyone.

Having to work as a team with people you have never met before and learn to work together to win a sail race makes it that bit more overwhelming.

But not for two of our apprentices who did exactly that.

Last week, Shannon Cuthbertson-Scott from our Leeds depot and Kieran McDonald from our Coatbridge depot took part in the first MAST Charity Apprentice Ship Cup; a sailing race for Apprentices to help them develop skills and build confidence within them selves.

Taking part in this challenge saw them swap their day jobs for an intensive crash-course in sailing, working with a team of people they have never met to try and win a race! Joining national training provider First4Skills and four other apprentices from the retail company Argos, Shannon and Kieron embarked on the race which is a first of its kind.

Setting off from Liverpool Docklands, there were over 150 apprentices from across the UK who crewed a fleet of eight tall ships to sail to Belfast finishing in Whitehaven across 5 days. The Apprentice Ship Cup is hosted and organised by the Merseyside Adventure Sailing Trust (MAST) Charity which enables young people to achieve growth and personal development through sail training and embarking on life-changing adventures.

The Apprentices Ship Cup is a way to challenge, stretch and develop apprentices in the North West in a safe environment. Through participating in this experience, the race looks to empower apprentices and help them discover and unlock their true potential. Competitors get to improve their self-confidence, teamwork, problem solving, interpersonal and life skills. They also discover new skills in steering and helmsmanship, climbing the mast and rigging, setting the sails, keeping navigation watch and domestic duties such as cooking and cleaning the ship.

Each led by an experienced and qualified watch leader. Shannon and Kieran came away from a frantic few days tired but ecstatic at winning the race. “What I enjoyed about the tall ship challenge was being out at sea with people I had never met as this gave me a little confidence to start conversation and get to know everyone. I enjoyed having to get up during the night to go on watch and getting a shot of navigating the ship.” Said Kieran.

Shannon followed this up with her thoughts. “The whole experience was a learning curve for me, Its made me realise how important it is to work as a team in certain situations because you cant always deal with things on your own. I didn’t enjoy the waves at all but I can say that I had a good time and it was a big achievement for me as I have never really done anything on my own so it was scary going on a boat with a load of strangers. I’ve made 2 life long friends and I will be keeping in touch with them."

Apprentice-Ship-Cup-2014.jpgL-R Louise O'Neill (Whistl HR Business Partner), Shannon Cuthbertson-Scott and Kieran McDonald

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