Students set sail on Channel voyage

Youngsters from the Space Centre, Kirkby-in-Ashfield are learning to sail the English Channel
Youngsters from the Space Centre, Kirkby-in-Ashfield are learning to sail the English Channel

A group of school pupils from across the Ashfield area are setting sail on the challenge of a lifetime this week - by joining the crew of a yacht.

The 10 boys, who all attend the SPACE centre in Kirkby, have embarked on a week-long adventure sailing a round-the-world-style Challenger yacht in the English Channel.

They travelled down to Portsmouth at the weekend and will sail, weather permitting, to the Isle of Wight and Channel Islands before returning back to the south coast.

SPACE co-ordinator James Allbright said that it is a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity for the boys and it will help them build confidence, improve team working skills and learn leadership skills.

“Some are nervous, some are excited,” he said.

“It’s brand new to a lot of them, just travelling that distance generally, but also having to share a cabin altogether for seven days.”

This is the first time the SPACE centre has taken part in such an activity and it has been made possible thanks to the YMCA.

The students will be working for their competent crew qualification while on board, learning how to tie knots, hoist the sail and check and clean the boat.

“It’s going to be good but there will be some challenges along the way,” added James.

“Hopefully it will be life-changing and broaden their horizons.”

SPACE (the School Partnership, Alternative Centre for Education) is based on Forest Street in Kirkby and has involvement from all four secondary schools in Sutton and Kirkby.

It aims to re-engage youngsters in the education system by organising practical and vocational activities for them to take part in.

The students setting sail on the yacht challenge are aged between 12 and 15 and have impressed during previous SPACE programmes.