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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

Everybody loves a D.M.C (Deep Meaningful Conversation) now and again, and there are plenty of opportunities for Trainees to connect with each other by sharing their own personal stories. Our Trainees often find that confiding in one another allows them to empathise with each other better, and this often results in them working better as a team.



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

The thought of being away from an internet connection might seem like a scary thought at first but, many of our Trainees say that it’s one of the best parts of being on a voyage! This is because it allows them to focus more on the people around them without distractions from social media. Playing games in the evening is a great way for Trainees to bond with each other. Some past favourites have included: UNO, Scrabble, Pictionary, and of course — Go Fish!



6. Climbing the Mast

Again, another physically demanding Sail Training activity that is an absolute favourite amongst our Trainees. Climbing aloft takes nerves of steel as, depending on the Vessel, the mast can reach heights of up to nearly 100ft! — But those who do take on the challenge of scaling the mast say that it was definitely worth it. Overcoming your fears and climbing the mast with other people is a great opportunity to connect and bond over the truly life-changing experience… and don’t worry, there is always a member of staff supervising when somebody is aloft!

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.



9. Seasickness!


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.

For more information about the #SailToWellbeing campaign, or to find out how you can use Sail Training to connect with others, click here.
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