Jack Pierce received funding from the Milo Hanlon Bursary. Here is his story:

Firstly I would like to extend my thanks to all involved in the Milo Hanlon trust for deciding to support me and therefore enabling me to start my Yachtmaster Ocean here at UKSA.

I have had a very busy first month on the course, but have definitely learnt a lot. During the first few days, I was shown around the academy and told what to expect regarding general living on campus. I also completed my Fire Fighting Training, and Personal Safety and Social Responsibility Course. After a study day to take in everything that I had learnt over the first week, I had my first sea phase. I was really looking forward to it, as it would have been the first time I had been back on a boat in nearly two months. During my first sea phase, me and my crew who I had met over the first few days had a lot of fun. We learnt a lot from the instructor that we had, and were able to visit lots of ports in Solent. During this sea phase I gained my competent crew status, and was able to get my first log entry signed off.

After my first sea phase, I began my Day Skipper theory which was a five day course. It was the first time I had come into contact with the majority of what I was learning so I found it quite challenging at first. However after five days of studying and attending classes, I was able to pass both exams and was looking forward to my Day Skipper practical.

After completing a few smaller courses such as a diesel engine maintenance qualification, we moved onto the boats for our day skipper practical. Initially I struggled with some of the new practical concepts that I was being introduced to, but once we had been on the bat for a day or so, I felt like I was getting used to it again. After being stuck on the land for all the theory, it was a nice change to get out into the Solent and practice all the skills and drills that we were being taught. On the last full day of the sea phase, our skipper Emily, told us that she thought we would be ready to go round the Island so we set of early that morning. Initially the trip was really fun, we sailed into new parts of the water around the Isle of Wight, and got our first experience of ocean sailing on the other side of the island. Unfortunately I was in charge of cooking the meals for the day and had to spend a few hours at a time down below which resulted in me feeling a bit sea sick. Thankfully I wasn’t too bad, and was able to come up on deck every now and again to stop myself getting worse.

When the crew had eaten the last meal, I got up on deck just in time for us to motor sail back into the Solent at night. The crew navigated with all the flashing buoys back to Cowes and despite not wanting to end the sea phase, after 12 hours of sailing, I was glad to be back!

Since then I have passed two of my Yachtmaster offshore exams, and am looking forward to yacht master systems and my next sea phase! Thank you again for your support.