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St.Gerard's School & Support Services

Achieve, Believe, Celebrate

Sail Training on the Tall Ship 'Maybe'

Year 12 students Thomas & Seamus take Mr Geoghegan on a high seas adventure.

Thomas, Seamus and myself set off from St. Gerard's looking for adventure on 24th April 2017. We met up at the Tall Ship which was called 'Maybe' at two o'clock with all the gear that would prepare us for 3 days at sea. Nothing would have prepared us for the conditions that lay ahead.

As we hoisted the mainsail to the bark of the Captain, 'TWO, SIX - HEAVE - TWO, SIX - HEAVE we quickly had to learn the ropes. Storm petrels and guillemots showed the way as the Tall Ship 'Maybe' walloped her way through the choppy waters of Belfast Lough.

Finally we anchored in the shelter of Carrickfergus Castle and spent a bumpy night telling ghost stories of murder and mayhem. It was a force 9 gale so the weather pinned us to that watery wasteland for all the next day as the salty smells of seasick sailors rose from the bilges below. But Thomas & Seamus rose to the challenge and as the weather permitted we headed east towards Scotland.

Night fell as we sailed the turbulent waters under those dark skies pierced by a million stars. It was gusting 30 - two hours on deck, wide awake - two hours in our bunks as we slept away our tiredness only to be woken up for another two hours on deck. This went on all night until we arrived back in Belfast Harbour in the Titanic Quarter, safe and sound, older but wiser, tired but strong. We could not have survived but for us- teamwork was the key! An unforgettable experience for all involved.

O for a soft and gentle wind

I heard a fair one cry

But give to me a snoring breeze

And white waves heaving high

The white wave heaving high, my boys,

The good ship tight and free -

The world of waters is our home

And merry men are we

P. Geoghegan