Aye Aye, Captain!

Westholmers set sail with Captain Beard and his First Mate, Miss Entwistle!


Nineteen girls from Years 9, 10 and 11, along with Mr Beard and Miss Entwistle, joined their sailing ships Leader and Golden Vanity at Brixham.  Leader, built in 1892, was originally a trawler and Golden Vanity, a gaff cutter, was built in 1908 for the artist Arthur Briscoe.


The girls were to crew these vessels. The Year 10 girls, on the 20 tonne Golden Vanity, found their six hammock bunks in the fore part of the ship in a space one third the size of a normal bedroom a slight challenge! The girls on Leader marvelled at her size: 110 tonnes, 104 feet long with over 220 square metres of sail. At first anchorage, the crews were delighted to have their first visitors: dolphins happily swimming alongside. With the forecast of unfavourable winds, plans to get to France were unrealistic so it was decided to sail west down the Devon and Cornwall coast to Falmouth. Each evening beautiful anchorages were found, with evenings spent barbequing on the beach and crews eating and singing until gone midnight. With moonlight providing a perfect backdrop with boats silhouetted, it was a truly memorable experience!


Finally it was time to set sail through the night back to Brixham. Some girls even braved the clear but extremely cold waters of our shores!

All the Westholme sailors succeeded in attaining their RYL Competent Crew Qualification. The girls learnt not only how to sail, but to live and work in confined spaces under pressure. Some girls had even fallen in love with Leader and Golden Vanity!