It’s the dream. Setting off on the open sea, without a care in the world and your personal ambition being your only limitation. Your past and your home behind you, and straight-ahead you find the tides and currents pulling you along towards a mysterious new land.
Unfortunately, for most that is what it will continue to be, a dream. Something just beyond our reach because of lack of money or skills. However, for one lucky woman, this has become a glorious reality. Shannon Salisbury, from Cardiff (24), with the support of ASTO (Association of Sail Training Organisations) and the Australia Britain Society, is packing her bags and trusty compass, preparing to set off for Australia to take part in two consecutive 10 day voyages on a tall ship. Indeed the adventure will not end there, as she’ll have the chance to continue her travels on land around the country before an all-expenses paid return.
It isn’t mere luck that has gifted Shannon this opportunity, but determination and dedication. Furthermore, she is not simply a dreamer, having sailed on a 72-foot yacht last year named Challenge Wales. This Cardiff-based yacht aims to actively engage young people aged 12-25 into developing personal skills and sailing expertise. Shannon has learnt the mechanics of sailing, navigating and helming from her time with Challenge Wales. She said,
“When I came onboard Challenge Wales I was nervous and didn’t know anyone but as soon as we set off my confidence grew and I felt a valuable member of the team. I learnt that people from different backgrounds can successfully work together.”
Challenge Wales seek to empower young people and help them recognize their potential. Shannon’s experience with them has played a massive part in realizing this fantastic dream, and I would personally like to wish her the best of luck, safe travels, and happy sailing!
A bursary scheme which all UK residents aged 12 – 25 years can apply for to help subsidise their sail training voyages is offered by Challenge Wales.