Thomas Wellsted, Year 7, is a member of the 11th Torbay Sea Scouts who have taken part in the Cowes Small Ships race for previous three years.
The Scouts take two teams: Scouts (aged 12 & 13) and Explorers (aged 14+).
The Scouts sail with Discovery Sailing Project, which is a Scout organisation, on board a Seastream 43’ called Discovery DSP. The boat sleeps 12 people in mostly 2/3 berth cabins.
Five Scouts and two Scout Leaders travelled to Universal Marina on the River Hamble on Thursday 4th October where they were introduced to the skipper of the boat and his second in charge (making a total of five scouts and four adults).
They sailed to Cowes on the Isle of Wight on Friday 5th October where the Scouts were taught how to sail the boat under the guidance of the skipper. The Scouts had to help with all of the daily tasks on board the boat including helping with the cooking, dishes etc.
On Saturday 6th October the vessels all paraded past The Esplanade in Cowes at 0915 hours and the first races set off at 1000 hours. They sailed from Cowes to the Solent (one of the busiest shipping channels around Great Britain) and back again which took approximately 5 hours. The weather was very wet and windy with up to gale force 7 winds.
The Scouts came third in their class (C2 – Smaller Bermudan Rigged Vessels) out of 10 ships in their category (23 ships entered the competition in total). This is the first time the Scouts have been placed in the race. As the youngest competitor in the race Thomas was awarded a book on knots.
The skipper from Discovery told the Scout Leader that the Scouts were so well behaved and worked well as a team that he would gladly sail with any of them again.
The Explorers came second in their class (C1) on a bigger boat called Thermopylae Clipper, also with the Discovery Sailing Project.
A party was arranged for all of the crews on the Saturday evening before they sailed back from Cowes to Southampton and then travelled home on Sunday 7th October.
The Cowes Small Ships Race is organised by ASTO in partnership with the Royal London Yacht Club and supported by Isle of Wight based organisations including the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes Yacht Haven, Herapath Shenton Trust, RLYC Youth Trust, Cowes Rotary, Delphie Lakeman Trust and others.
“Well done Thomas. What a fantastic event to be involved in and at such a young age. Congratulations.” Mr Scott, Head of Year