A “life changing” experience is how 23-year old Gemma Wyatt describes her voyage on Tecla, the Netherlands Gaff Ketch, known throughout the fleet for her friendly spirit and family atmosphere.
As a young lady who finds mixing with people difficult and greatly lacking in confidence, Gemma was introduced to sail training by a family friend, Paulina Brooks, who is involved with Tall Ships Bermuda. Paulina was familiar with Tecla, who had sailed in the Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge in 2009.
Gemma joined Tecla for the first time in Istanbul for the Historical Seas regatta, having been dropped off by her rather nervous parents, Nichola and Andrew, who were concerned about how she would cope on her own. They needn’t have worried as when they collected her in Lavrion a few days later, their daughter had been transformed into a confident young sailor. Back at home they noticed a significant difference – Gemma was more confident, able to mix with others, even her body language had changed. Two weeks later she even went on to pass her driving test!
Having been so moved by the experience Gemma’s mother, Nichola, decided it was time she set herself a challenge. Never having sailed before she decided that she would also like to try sail training, and as a result she and her husband, Andrew, joined the Bermudan Ketch Maybe (UK) for the Cruise in Company, while Gemma returned to Tecla. “It was a great experience" they agreed. "A great ship with a fantastic crew. Sailing from Risor to Kristiansand through the fjords was incredibly beautiful.”
Gemma is looking forward to using her knew found confidence and skills when she returns to work as a nursery assistant. Tecla was the perfect vessel for her and she is sad to be leaving soon. “Its a fantastic ship – everyone is friendly, the food is great, and the crew are so nice and loving”.
To view the final results of the first race and full prize list, click here.
To see more images from The Tall Ships Races, click here.
The Tall Ships Races, presented by Szczecin and organised by Sail Training International.