Students set sail for second place finish

PUBLISHED: 09:22 30 October 2012

Meridian students Katherine Dawes and Abi Hodgetts climb out onto the bowsprit at the front of Queen Galadriel. (Pic: Paul Haigh)

Meridian students Katherine Dawes and Abi Hodgetts climb out onto the bowsprit at the front of Queen Galadriel. (Pic: Paul Haigh)

Paul Haigh/Cirdan Trust

SWASH-BUCKLING students who set sail on a voyage of discovery managed to steer their ship to surprise second place finish in a prestigious race.

The nine-strong team from the Meridian School in Royston finished as runners-up in the ASTO Small Ships sailing race held at Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, earlier this month.

It was the first time the school had entered the race, and teacher Jessica Weatherall, who organised the team alongside colleague Paul Haigh, was delighted with the outcome, especially as the team had only been preparing for a month.

She said: “The students have worked together as a team raising all the money to take part, done all the cooking, cleaning and learned to sail in just less than five weeks.”

Mr Haigh said: “We’re amazed by the students, who in difficult weather conditions, with almost no sleep, didn’t give up, and have clearly enjoyed every minute of the race. They fully deserved second place in their class.”

The team sailed the Queen Galadriel, a ship owned by the Cirdan Trust, an organisation which works to empower young people from all backgrounds and of all abilities to get involved in sailing. They also received backing from Morrisons in Royston, who provided discounted food for the voyage.

Dr Michael Firth, headteacher at the Meridian School, said: “Living as far away from the coast as we do, there are limited opportunities such as this for our students. This has been an excellent opportunity through which our sailors learned a great deal. I am very grateful to all those who made it possible and delighted for the school.”

The school plans to enter a team in next year’s race.

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