Crew members

The Chris Ellis award

2014 winner - Emmeran Carl

The winner of the 2014 Chris Ellis award for the best piece of written or art work based on a voyage with OYT South is Emmeran Carl, who was aged 16 when he sailed with us in summer 2014 and wrote the following account of his voyage:

"Whilst I was on-board of the John Lang I learnt that you can have fun without having to use a games console. On the way to the ship that would be our home for the next seven days the whole minibus was full of energy and everyone (Leah, Conner, Jamie and I) were prospering for a great time on a boat. We were not disappointed. Our skipper Ed Green was awesome, prepared for anything and was absolutely hilarious but most of all he was all about health and safety, he made the experience fun but most of all he made it safe. I should also mention the group leaders (Steve, Ant, Emily and Amy) they done an ace job of organizing shifts so that everyone got enough sleep but so that the people on watch wouldn’t get too tired (they ran in 3 hour time zones), this insured that the crew (us) worked efficiently (I should also mention that for all 7 days not one of the children complained about anything).  

The first day was planned in a way so that all of the kids could get to know each other and make friends with the people who they would be spending the next 7 days with. In my opinion every one coped very well with the challenge. We also met the 1st mate (Andy) and the boson (Harri), both whom were very kind to everyone on board and cooked the first dinner that we had for the whole crew on the first night. What I will remember the most from that first day was everyone’s “go get them” attitude to meeting new people; even a boy from Eton was ready to meet and make new friends, which was very amusing because he read us poems before we went to bed.

Driving up the river Fal we were able to see huge delivery ships, more sail boats and exquisitely, beautiful wildlife such as otters, herons and forests that could have had anything in them.

On the second day Ed woke us up at 7:30am in the morning. The atmosphere was full of excitement, happiness and ambition, because today we were heading to the Scilly isles (West of Cornwall). But first we had to do some basic sailing manoeuvres such as tacking and jibing. After that we were given a successful man over board scenario and a demonstration on how to retrieve the victim sharply, safely and efficiently (all together this took us approximately 1.25 hours). Then we smashed it out to the Scilly isles. Admittedly I was the third person to get effected by sea sickness, but that did not make the day any worse, it was awesome anyway.

In the evening of the second day we arrived at the Scilly’s; the sunset was exquisitely beautiful as it sunk behind the horizon. I stayed back at the boat to cook dinner with Ant and Izzy whilst the rest of the crew went on to the local island (Saint Agnes). For the evening meal we prepared a chicken Rogan Josh with a fruit salad as desert, which when everyone came back was much appreciated by the rest of the crew and Ed because the trip to the Scilly’s was very draining for the crew; but we arrived there 2 hours before we intended to, But because it was also Steve’s birthday we had enough time to proper him a surprise birthday cake (which took him completely by surprise)!!!! After day two everyone slept like puppies after a hard working day out at sea.

On the 3rd day we went to visit Saint Agnes (the island that we docked at). First we ate a state of the art breakfast… toast and cornflakes!!! Then we had a driving lessen on the dingy with Emily, this took approximately 1 hour. After that Andy dropped us off on a beach that got covered at high tide so we only had about 6 hours on land. So as soon as everyone landed we enjoyed the beach whilst we could (I went swimming) then when the watch leaders finally came I had to get changed. Turns out that I lost them so I spent about 2 hours looking for them, but when I found the group we all had a grand tour of the island, ate ice-cream and invented the moo off. We spent the last 3 hours  on  the beach. We played cricket (admittedly we did break the cricket bat and had to use a football), where I had the most fun of the hole trip. Finally we got picked up just before the tide came in. After we explained to Ed that we broke the cricket bat, he acted totally cool about it and said “accidents happen”. Back on the boat we ate a stupendous meal of fish fingers, peas and chips which fitted quite well since Jemmy, Will and Rob court shrimp whilst we were on  land. Now everyone was ready to sail through the night.

Our watch was woken at 1am in the morning on the fourth day, as we were headed to France. Fairly tired we dragged on our oilys’ and life jackets whilst we crept up onto deck. As I gazed up I could see millions of stars and I can remember Harry saying to me “the night sky is always the best when you are out at sea.” I don’t remember much of the early hours of the fourth day but that is the one thing that I do remember clearly.

After a 3 hour graveyard shift everyone was very relieved to see the sun slowly rise over the horizon. We were handed up a well-deserved bowl of cereal. So we continued sailing toward France. Ed allowed us to play music out of the speakers that we had on deck as long as it did not disturb the people who were sleeping downstairs in the cabins. On this day sea sickness was not that much of a problem until Conner threw up in the late afternoon. Very much in the middle of the day we nearly crashed into a large fishing vessel that Ed swiftly avoided.

In the early evening of the fourth day I had to cook again. I struggled a bit because I hardly got any sleep throughout the day and on my breaks the rocking boat wasn’t helping; but I still managed to help make a superb pasta bolognas. Admittedly I did act rather unsociable around the dinner table, which Ed picked up on so he sent me straight to bed.

I awoke on the fifth day feeling full of energy so I sprung out of bed. Ed had told us that today we were going to go ashore to a little village called Treguier where we could have a nice warm shower (which everyone was up for), a pizza and have a look round an old cathedral. First we had to clean the boat, and everyone took part in some way or another because we wanted to get onto land as fast as possible. Finally after 30 minutes of hard labour we finally got into the dingy and sped off to land where they had already given us permission to use the warm showers. Then after that we were all determined to find the pizzeria, which supposedly had a pizza machine that cooked you a pizza of your chose (I spent £15 on pizza). The cathedral was expounding. From the ceiling to the engraving of the gold work, crosses and furniture, they were all works of art (Ed did not disappoint us). We were picked up from the pontoon at around 6:30pm after a very enjoyable day, just to come back to the boat to enjoy a very tangy fish pie. Then Ed showed us the chart and how far we had travelled (about 180mil).

We were awoke again at the usual time (7:30), ready to get back out to sea. Everyone had a quick clean of the boat and then we set sail once again. We left French waters and returned back into British water. The day was very relaxed and we did not have to do much except from steer the boat on a course of 140*. I recall us playing music from the speakers and everyone having a little dance in the cockpit (we were all strapped onto a safety line so that no one fell in), and it seemed that everyone was having a blast with the new people that they met. Then later we had to perform a head sail change; this was probably the one of the most difficult tasks on the boat (right before cleaning the heads). First we had to drag down the 2nd sail which took us about 1’45 hours, and then the other group took over and had to get the size 1 sail out which is about the size of a 3 cars.

Night started to role in at about 6.30 and the sun set was stunning. The once blue sky had now turned into red fire as the light scattered through the clouds. As night came closer the stars shone brighter and it got colder, in response to this we were advised to put on extra layers and our oily’s. Our watch took the graveyard shift again. But it was not as bad as our last one. Yes we were tired but the night sky was that clear that you could see every star sign clearly and most of them were pointed out to us. Ant made us all a cup of nice, warm, sweet hot chocolate because this was our second graveyard shift and everyone needed some caffeine to stay going strong for the next 3-4 hours because we were headed onto a ship highway where anything could happen so we had to be on top game.

We were finally relived at 4am on the seventh day after another tiring graveyard shift and went with no delays straight to bed. After 3 hours of hard core sleep we were back on watch but in a much better mood. Music was playing out on deck where the other watch was ready to go back to bed, but first Jonno (the boy from Eaton) and I made everyone a lovely cornflaky breakfast. Then we also joined the rest of our watch out on deck. The wind was very calm so we had to turn on the motor for most of the way to Portsmouth. When we got there Ed lowered the anchor  let us have a 3 hour break since it was our last day on the John Lang. After a well-deserved rest (as Ed described it) we docked at Ed’s local port, then we went to church and had a cola and a shower. Then we slowly made our way back to the boat because Ed had bought us all fish and chips. This night we talked all about who enjoyed what about the week and what we will remember in 10 years.

In conclusion I loved the whole 7 days that I spent on that ship and I will not forget a single second that I spent with that crew. They were helpful, funny and made the whole experience a blast. I hope that I can relive that experience one day!"                     



“I have thoroughly exhausted myself with lots of hard work and laughter.” Paul

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