Wednesday, 22 August 2007


Now that I am back in Parish life I don't have much time to reflect, things have been busy even though it is August.

However I am attempting to write reports, produce powerpoints and get some reflections and even proposals for the future in a presentable form. Here is some of what I have produced:


Original Aims

My two aims were:

1 To qualify as a Yachtmaster

2 To explore ways of using coastal and offshore sailing for a range of Christian ministries.

In May I achieved my RYA / MCA “Yachtmaster Offshore” qualification to which I have had added a ‘Commercial Endorsement’. The practical examination took place on board a yacht at Falmouth with the examiner on board for 9 hours. At the debriefing he said “I have only one thing to ask you – why haven’t you done this earlier”!

Leading up to the exam I had to achieve a range of targets and attend a number of related courses.

I needed to log 2500 miles at sea within the last ten years (my total logged under sail is now about 8,000). I had to show 5 days as skipper, 5 passages over 60 miles and 2 overnight (in the last 2 years I have been skipper for 88 days, sailed 114 night hours, 10 passages over 60nm including 4 over 100 and 1 over 200).

I took a range of RYA shore based courses including: Yachtmaster Theory, First Aid, VHF/DSC Radio, Heavy Weather Sailing, Survival at Sea.

It has always been an ambition of mine to get my ‘Yachtmaster’ and I had long thought it would be impossible. So it has been a huge delight and very satisfying to achieve this.

Although I have not been learning an entirely new skill base, I have been pushed to much higher levels of knowledge and skill than before. Along the way I have been stretched, grown in confidence and have learned much about myself.

It would not have been possible without the support of many people. Firstly my wife, Loïs who has not only encouraged me but has joined in, gaining her own “Day Skipper “ qualification along the way! The Diocese and Parish have been very supportive in allowing me to do this and helping with funding the training. And I could not have achieved this without the many crewmembers who over the last two years have helped pay for yacht charters and for the privilege of sailing ‘before the mast’ under my command!

Sail Training
Sail Training is not about primarily about learning to sail. It is about training under sail. As a means to recruit crewmembers and raise interest in the project I produced a questionnaire which outlined the possible dates for charters and, more importantly, allow people to express areas of interest.

At every crew briefing I would recite these areas of interest to allow people to express what they have come along to experience.

The main areas include:

Team Building (experience how teams develop and relate)

Character Development (come and learn something new about yourself)

Family Time (quality time with your spouse, child or parent)

Leadership Training (discover the leader in you, learn to trust others)

Spiritual Retreat (meet with God in a fresh and memorable way)

Environmental Awareness (from bird and shark watching to caring for

Cross Culture (using the Nautical scene as a cross-cultural experience)

Christian Outreach (bring along or sail with non-Christians)

Sailing skills (focus on Sailing, Seamanship or Navigation)

Refreshment (for busy people - ‘a Change is as good as a Rest’!)

Responses to the questionnaire revealed a high interest in Spiritual Retreat and Environmental Awareness. I have sought to develop these two areas with every cruise.

We have noted several clear successes in Character Development ranging from ‘laying ghosts’ from the past where someone had been made to feel they could never do anything right, through to building confidence leading to landing an ideal job.

The five groups from the Mission ship “Logos II” where billed specifically as ‘Team Building’ at the request of the Captain and Chief Engineer. One crew had a whole day, which gave us time to develop competitions using the ‘man over board’ drill under sail as a clear task. However, we proved to ourselves that team building is even possible if the crew are together only for 4 hours, as we repeated that model four times over two days.

Family Time has been popular with couples and Fathers and Sons.

Those who have sailed before have been keen to develop Sailing Skills. Some who have never sailed before have really enjoyed discovering new skills. However there have been those who have been happy either to be a passenger, rest and relax, or focus on another area such as retreat, bird watching or photography, and that has been fine.