The teens, aged between 15-17, were nominated by their local schools Greenhills, Sacred Heart, St Mary’s and Gormanston and were raring to give it a go, having heard great things about the experience from previous trainees.
Skipper Peter Scallan greeted the trainees and quickly got to work with the safety briefing and emergency drills. Within hours the trainees, who were all strangers to each other, had begun to mix well and were busy in the ship’s galley preparing dinner.
Afterwards they assisted the captain in preparing the navigational plan for the week ahead and spent their first night onboard in Drogheda.
At 8am the following morning their adventure began. The first stop was Clogherhead — and a VIP tour of the village’s RNLI station to see one of Ireland’s newest lifeboats, the Shannon class Michael O’Brien.
From there the journey took them to Lambay Island — home to a colony of wallabies — then on to Howth.
The trainees had by now become a great team and strong friendships were forming. They were learning and growing in confidence with every nautical mile — 54 at this point.
Scrubbing the decks (also known as ‘Happy Hour’), preparing meals, keeping watch, writing logs, the young crew were working flat out.
After passing Ireland’s Eye and the Bailey Lighthouse, the Brian Ború arrived in Wicklow for some well-earned relaxation time spent fishing, swimming and enjoying the beauty of life at sea.
From Wicklow, the return passage took them to Dun Laoghaire Harbour for the night, then another overnighter, this time at Malahide Marina for some yacht-spotting, before the final 26 nautical miles homeward bound last Friday morning 14 June.
The newly skilled sailors received a warm welcome home at Harbourville from family, friends and bursary schene sponsors Irish Cement, Fast Terminals, Louth County Council and Drogheda Port Company.
The sponsors in association with Sail Training Ireland presented trainees with a certificate of achievement and commended them on embarking on this challenging adventure.
Next year’s voyages promise to be every bit as exciting. If you are interested in taking part, contact Drogheda Port Company for details.