Wednesday 16th July 2008 by C. Freeman
Year 9 student Oliver Askew has been raising funds so he can crew a tall ship from Portugal to Spain. The Ocean Explorer 2008 trip will give Explorer Scouts from across Northamptonshire the chance to live and work on board a sailing ship.
The 57m Atlantis is operated by the Tall Ship Company and the voyage that Oliver will join will be the last leg of a three part journey. The first stage is from Cowes to La Coruna in north west Spain, the second crew will sail from there to Lisbon in Portugal. Oliver will fly over to join the ship and complete its voyage to Cadiz in Spain. A total of 34 Scouts and two leaders will be on board the vessel on each of the stages, along with a captain, a maid, two deckhands and four nautical crew.
During their adventure the Scouts will be split into 'watches' where they each take a working shift pattern of six hours on and six off. They will initially spend a few days learning the ropes and will then crew the ship largely unaided.
Oliver and a friend have raised the £800 needed for the trip by selling food at village events in Geddington and organising race nights. Oliver said: 'As we're going to be split into watches it's definitely going to be a working experience. I am trying to build up my fitness so that I can work that extra bit harder.'
Oliver has been in the scouting movement for many years and is a member of the JLC troop based at the John Lowther Centre. This will be the first adventurous training exercise that he has taken part in with the Scouts and he is really looking forward to the challenges involved.
The Ocean Explorer website said: 'The trips will represent a life-changing experience for many of our young people. They will be able to count the trip towards their Duke of Edinburgh Awards. Team building will be a big part of the preparation for the event, so by the time the trip takes place contingents will be able to work together and have an understanding how they will be divided into 'watches' on board and the responsibility they will have for the rest of the ship.'