The journey started on 25th of August at Milford marina. On arrival the Cadets had their briefings, dressed in their uniforms and started their familiarisation with the vessel. Many safety things needed to be explained, and also the Cadets would be out into their various watches for the coming week. The Jack Petchey was tied up alongside until Sunday. During this time the Cadets had numerous lectures about health and safety, watches, the duty mess men and much more.
On Sunday morning the Cadets had a few more lectures, this time from the engineer (also known as engines.) this was soon followed by a very interesting lesson on navigation and chart work. This would help the Cadets later on when they would be on the bridge at sea.
Sunday night’s shore leave consisted of all 12 Cadets going to Scolton Manor, which ended up with them being closer to home than Jack Petchey.
Monday soon followed with a 7am start, bright and early for the day ahead. As all of the lectures were finished it was time to go out to sea. In the morning the Cadets got used to the motion and how the ship works whilst out at sea. After a few hours they anchored for lunch in the harbour.
Lunch was a pasta bake with chicken and bacon. Once finished they set off to their first destination which happened to be Lundy Island in the Bristol channel. The weather conditions were challenging as it was extremely choppy and the ship was rocking to a great extent. Monday’s pasta reappeared to some unfortunate Cadets as they were sick over the side.
During the time the Cadets weren’t on watch they stood on the bow with their foul weather gear on as the waves came crashing down onto the bow and soaking them. The journey to Lundy was a 4 hour sailing. On the way to Lundy the Cadets were being creative about what could be on the island and weather it was even inhabited as none had ever been to the island before. Firstly, they concluded that there would be nuns who sell chocolate and as more ideas were involved the outcome was that there were killer ninja nuns who went scuba diving and para-gliding.
It was then time for red watch to go onto the bridge. During the two hours they were on watch, they would helm the boat and be on look out and put in to practise their navigation and chart work skills which they had learnt the previous day.
When they arrived at Lundy Island, they decided to Anchor off for the Night. Because they were anchored it meant that some Cadet would be on anchor watch. The rough weather from the journey to Lundy continued all through the night where the boat was rocking a lot. This caused the Cadets to feel seasick all through the evening and night. However, this didn’t stop them from having an amazing time.
The next morning the Cadets undertook a lesson on buoyage. During this lesson they learnt all about cardinal marks, lateral marks, and light sequences which were very beneficial for when they undertake their offshore hand level 1 and 2. After this lesson it was time for their shore leave on the island. To the Cadets surprise people did live on the island but there were no scuba diving nuns which was disappointing. They had a great time.
We managed to explore a lot of the Island and visit the Shop to stock up on snacks and drinks.
Following the visit, the Cadets went back onto Petchey and prepared to set off to for the next Port of Swansea which was our next destination this time it was nice and sunny day and was much calmer and no one was seasick which was good.
After some of the Cadets did their watch on the bridge the other Cadets assembled on the bow. This time no foul weather gear needed. The Cadets then heard some banging coming from underneath the bow. They went to investigate and found some dolphins playing off the bow. They soon got bored and swam away but it was still really cool for the Cadets to see them up so close. The Jack Petchey then arrived in Swansea were they had dinner and then undertook seamanship training, including throwing heaving lines, knots which included rolling hitches, sheet bends and round turn and two half hitches and general sea terms. After this came some shore leave in Swansea were Cadets had the opportunity to see some of the sights of Swansea, that they wouldn’t have seen before. After this they turned in for the night.
It was another 7am start which most Cadets were not looking forward to. It was Wednesday morning and everyone started getting tired at this point but they all kept a positive attitude which made the voyage all the more enjoyable. That mornings lesson was on how to plot ‘fixes with transits’ which was super fun. Once again, they left Swansea to get to Cardiff by 1700 hours. It was also a calm sailing which was enjoyable. On this crossing they went further out to sea instead of hugging the coast line. This gave them the opportunity to spot more dolphins even if they didn’t come up to the bow this time. During the time at Sea they practised all the Navigation and Steering that they had learnt so far.
The Jack Petchey arrived at the lock in Cardiff which would then take them into the bay. This lock was particularly worrying to enter than the rest as it was a tight squeeze to fit. Due to this inconvenience a fender got caught between the side of the ship and the lock wall. A few moments later there was a loud bang! The pressure of the fender caused it to be forced out. But luckily Engines was on the case and it was fixed in no time. When the gates opened the vessel left the lock and entered the bay. Coming up to the pontoon there was a small Yacht in the middle. This resulted in the vessel having to go in front of the yacht as they couldn’t fit behind it. However, when they were about 100 yards away from the pontoon they saw another yacht cutting in front of the other yacht. It then tied up where the Jack Petchey wanted to go and the captain had a few things to say about it. After asking them to move she then secured alongside.
That evening the Cadets had more shore leave in Cardiff Bay and they went to Cardiff bay centre. When they returned to the ship the Cadets practiced some more on our seamanship for our qualifications.
The next day, which was Thursday the Cadets worked on getting things signed off. This included domestics, engineering, health and safety, and seamanship. That afternoon they set sail for their last trip, which was a relatively short trip across to Penarth.
That night the Cadets had their final shore leave, where they went to the fair. The Cadets went on loads of the rides and had freshly made doughnuts and snowy cones which were delicious. They returned back to the ship and made a memories board which contains all off the jokes and highlights of the voyage. Over the week they were working towards Off-shore Power level 1 and 2.
All Cadets achieved their level one and 6 achieved their level 2. The 6 that achieved their Level 2 also achieved their RYA Start Motor Cruising Qualification. The week on Jack Petchey was an experience of a life time and all Cadets said that they would 100% go back again given the chance.
They would like to thank you for and unforgettable experience and opportunity.
“I enjoyed this voyage because it was my first time at sea and I liked learning new skills especially chart work. My personal highlights were being on the bridge especially with the first lieutenant as we had a lot of fun and interesting conversations. I also like being on the bow as we were sailing because we would all sing different songs and learn new things about each other. I am very great full that I was able to go on this voyage and it is an experience that I will remember forever I enjoyed every minute even washing the dishes because we all got along and enjoyed each others company. Thank you for sponsoring my voyage, it has inspired me to go to sea again very shortly and I hope to do this a lot more in the future.”
“My week offshore on TS Jack Petchey was one of the best experiences of my life and wouldn’t have been possible without your kind sponsorship. I learnt so much to do with the sea and the operations of a ship in this week to help further expand my opportunities within the Cadets. As well as this I also learnt how to function well as a team and communicate better with others. I gained my Offshore Hand 2 badge which also equates to the RYA qualification Start Motor Cruising. However, the experience can’t be given in any badge or qualification, you could come away with no badge but still have the best week of your life. This voyage has really opened my eyes to what the sea cadets can offer if you look for it and has definitely inspired me to go offshore with them again. I would like to thank all at the Ulysses Trust responsible for my bursary and hope that you would sponsor others like me in the future as it really is an amazing opportunity that all who are offered it should take.”
“I really enjoyed this trip and all the new experiences it has given me. Thank you very much for helping to fund this trip for me and helping to make many happy memories.”
“I had so much fun, everyone on board was very nice and informative and it really was a great experience. The food we had was fantastic, I had roast dinners and gammon, everything was great . I would like to thank you for this great opportunity, it really was a great experience and I’m already looking forward to hopefully having another chance to experience something like this again.”
Expeditions Challenges & Benefits
The challenge was to get 12 Cadets from Fishguard Sea Cadets away from home for the first time, living together as part of a team on board Jack Petchey and starting to learn how to look after themselves away from the home environment, whilst also teaching them valuable life skills, such as Communications, confidence, Teamwork, Leadership, Motivation, Commitment and above all friendship. This was a very young crew, and they all had a great time, whilst also bonding together as a team and learning so many new skills.
We now have 12 Cadets that have grown so much in confidence, they have improved their own communication skills, whilst also forming friend ships for life, away from their natural circle of friends. I have seen all 12 grow in terms of their ability and all 12 want to go again, and in fact 3 have already booked to go Offshore Sailing in next 12 months, which has shown their commitment and motivation grow. The Cadets has a great time, and all 12 parents have sent lovely message to the unit, stating how much fun they had and what a great experience they have had.
Fishguard Sea Cadets would like to thank the Ulysses Trust for supporting this Voyage and giving these 12 young Cadets a fantastic opportunity, which will only help and support them in later life.