THE STS Leeuwin II, Australia’s largest sail training ship, is celebrating its 30th birthday.
The Fremantle-based barquentine and the foundation that manages it, provide on-board learning and leadership programs mainly for youth aged between 14 and 25, but plenty of oldies have been given a thrill along the way.
The Leeuwin offers week-long voyages for 40 trainees, 10 volunteers and five staff, with the youngster placed in groups of around 10 who become their “family” for the voyage.
They take part in all the ship’s operations, from steering, setting and furling sails, cleaning, climbing the masts, working aloft and standing watch while sailing through the night.
On the final day, the permanent crew take a step back and let them take over the ship.
Following the voyage, the participants are invited to return as volunteers, which can lead to a cadetship with includes funding for courses and exams.
The experience opens doors into diverse fields such as marine biology, teaching, oceanography or water police, amongst others.
Petroleum giant Woodside offers 60 scholarships through Leeuwin for kids in Perth, Karratha, Broome, Exmouth or Roebourne who are interest in the marine environment or marine industry.
Leeuwin also run day sails which are a condensed version of the voyages and give adults the chance to raise the sails, take the helm, climb the bowsprit or just sit back and enjoy the experience.
Another initiative is the Ultimate Challenge, which is run from November 14-18 and is specifically designed for young people with intellectual, physical and/or sensory limitations. It’s an annual voyage but the foundation is hoping to run it twice a year.
by HOLLY COOMEY
Leeuwin Ocean Adventure
B Berth, Victoria Quay, Fremantle