The South Passage returns from its adventure on the high seas.
The South Passage returns from its adventure on the high seas. Valerie Horton

Crew teaches kids sailing skills

CALL it a tall ship for small sailors.

The South Passage, which docked at Hervey Bay yesterday, is a 100-foot schooner, built by a Brisbane philanthropist in 1993 to help teach young people about sailing and working together.

Usually the crew takes school groups on trips that can last up to eight days, but today Hervey Bay locals will be able to take a day trip out on the ship to get a taste of life at sea.

The South Passage is run by a not-for-profit organisation with a crew of volunteers, who sail up the coast from Brisbane to Cairns in winter and down to Wollongong in summer, taking on school groups for the experience of a lifetime.

Watch leader Geoff Roberts said the experience taught young people to live and work together in close quarters on a boat.

He said as well as building camaraderie and self-discipline, it was also a lot of fun.

“I’ve never known anyone on board not to have a good time,” he said.

“Everyone just mucks in, it’s a wonderful experience.”

Captain Russell Millard, who has recently completed a circumnavigation of the globe, said the trips challenged the students to get out of their comfort zone.

“They have the opportunity to work together and also it pushes them to the limit in a lot of ways. They’re never really challenged, and there’s times when I think they can be afraid, or they can be seasick and they have to carry on and do the job,” he said.

“They probably go away feeling a little braver and a little more self-assured.”

Those interested in coming on board the South Passage for a day sail should come down Great Sandy Straits Marina before 9am today. The cost is $70 for an adult and $35 for a child, and sailors should bring their own lunch, drinks and a hat.



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