Welcome to the Flying Tyke, 1224 (Wharfedale) Squadron's news blog. Keep checking back to keep up to date with the latest Squadron news.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Ocean Youth Trust Scotland Expedition 2013

by CWO Tom Smith

On Monday the 5th of August and after a long drive up from Ilkley I arrived in Oban, on the west coast of Scotland for my second Air Cadet Offshore sailing expedition with Ocean Youth Trust Scotland.
After meeting the expedition leader, Sqn Ldr Mike Blakey, we set off to pick the rest of the team up from the station and headed for the boat.

Alba Explorer is a 72 foot BT global challenge boat that has been round the world twice! After some fish and chips from a local shop we were ready to get going.

Once back on board and after going through the safety gear, we sat down round the saloon table to look at the chart. Ian the skipper announced the aim for the trip would be to reach St Kilda - an Atlantic island roughly 158 nm out from Oban, and one of the last bits of land before you reach North America - and that we would be setting off that evening. After some short man overboard drills we headed up the Sound of Mull and into the night.
As dawn broke we were passing rough the sound of Barra with a large number of the crew down due to sea sickness. After 26 hours of non stop sailing and with an escort of at least 20 common dolphin we finally arrived in Village Bay, St Kilda.

After a day spent wondering round the island in what seemed like Mediterranean weather with azure blue seas and clear blue sunshine we set off for the Sound of Harris, sailing past the Island of Boreray and its sea stacks as the sun fell on the North Atlantic Ocean.

After a clear starry night sail and a beat to windward across The Minch we arrived in Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye after an overnight here we headed south though the small Isle round Ardnamurchan Point and down to Tobermory on the Isle of Mull.

The last day seemed to have come round far too quickly and after a morning shopping in Tobermory we set sail back down the Sound of Mull for Oban. After an eventful last night with a talent contest which included a parrot, Britney Spears and Spice Girls tribute acts and secret Santa the week was over - far too soon!

It was an amazing week with some truly remarkable people and I am looking forward to going back next year.