During Week 1 of the #SailToWellbeing campaign, we have been focusing on the impacts of making connections through Sail Training. According to the 5 Steps to Mental Wellbeing research from the NHS, building good relationships with others is crucial for improving your mental wellbeing as it can help you to build a sense of belonging and self-worth and give you an opportunity to share positive experiences. We are proud to have Trainees from all different backgrounds, and there is a number of ways in which these young people can connect with each other whilst on board to help improve their mental wellbeing. Here are 11 different ways in which Trainees can connect through Sail Training:
1. Hauling Ropes
Hauling the halyard is one of the more physically demanding roles onboard a Sail Training Vessel and usually takes a group of three or four crew members. This is a great opportunity to work and connect with other people as part of a team in order to contribute to the running of the ship. HEAVE!
2. Sharing Personal Experiences
3. Making a Brew
Even the smallest acts can have a big impact on the connections made on Sail Training voyages. For example, offering to make somebody a drink like a cup of tea or coffee can form the basis of a real friendship. You might sit down with them after making a brew and have your first proper conversation to find that, actually, you have more in common than you first thought.
4. Cleaning… Yes, really!
Although cleaning doesn’t sound like the most glamorous way to meet new people and make new friends, having a shared space which you are all responsible for keeping clean and tidy can contribute to a greater sense of community and purpose — This can lead to greater connections being formed between Trainees (and teaches them to make their bed every morning!)
5. Playing Games
6. Climbing the Mast
7. Living with New People
It’s perfectly understandable if you are daunted by the prospect of meeting a group of new people for the first time. Living and working with others can be stressful for people wherever they are, but the unique experience of being on a Sail Training Vessel means that, quite literally, everybody is in the same boat (…Sorry, I couldn’t resist). This means that everybody will be keen to get on well with each other, as this makes it much easier to work as a team and keep the boat running smoothly.
8. Learning New Skills
There is always an opportunity to learn new skills whilst on a Sail Training voyage, whether that is picking up new Nautical language, or being taught how to tie knots. Learning together is a fantastic way to connect with other people, and Trainees often take charge and begin to teach each other by sharing knowledge and helping those who aren’t picking it up as quickly. These leadership and teamwork skills are transferrable and can be used in everyday life long after a Sail Training voyage is over.
Whilst feeling seasick isn’t the most comfortable of experiences on a Sail Training voyage, this actually can become a defining moment for any young person on board. Seasickness doesn’t discriminate and it could happen to anyone, even the strongest and toughest Trainee! The crew will be there to make sure you get through it, and someone may sit with you until it passes. From experience, we have found that this small act of kindness can help spark a connection and friendship between two people as it demonstrates positive traits such as patience and empathy.
10. Sailing at Night
Keeping a watch after dark and learning to navigate by starlight is often a highlight of any Sail Training voyage, and our Trainees love keeping each other entertained whilst on watch. In order to keep their minds sharp (and to avoid dozing off), Trainees will often split into teams to play word-association games through the night which creates a great sense of camaraderie and friendship.
11. Singing Sea Shanties
Of course, Sea Shanties may have made the news recently after going viral on TikTok, but we’ve been singing sea-shanties on our Sail Training voyages long before it was cool! Whether it’s The Wellerman or Jolly Sailor Bold, our Trainees love to end the evening by learning and singing these traditional folk songs.