From 28 June to 7 July, Our Lady and St Chad Catholic Academy took part in the 2019 Classic Channel Regatta, funded by The Classic Young Sailors Foundation. All of the crew came from an area that suffers social and economic disadvantage. Following the voyage, which visited Dartmouth, St Helier, Paimpol and Île-de-Bréhat, Russell Hilditch, Senior Assistant Principal from the school told us that “The group of students selected had all sailed with The Island Trust previously; therefore they all had experience of life at sea. The positive impact as a result of previous voyages meant that when the Academy was approached regarding the Classic Channel Regatta, we agreed to provide a young crew without hesitation.

The voyage was an experience that will stay in the memories of all involved well into adult life. It was exciting for our students to be part of events and activities such as evening supper parties, racing at a number of locations along the coast of England and France and sailing across the channel and meeting people from a variety of countries in Europe.

When discussing events upon return to the new school year, the moment that the students most clearly remember is the arrival and parade upon entry to Paimpol harbour. In particular, being the second ship in the parade, the number of onlookers in the harbour and the reception of the musicians. Mind blowing for most and this helped them realise the size and importance of the event.

The students now understand the importance of self-reliance and importantly they now talk about what they want to do past year 11 GCSE’s and do relate to experiences from the trip when looking at the qualities wanted by employers.”

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