Sunday 3rd Nov, 2019 at 5:00 pm
Spot Renee's wheelchair!
We're about to set off from Sydney on Kayle, heading up to Newcastle for a week of Winds of Joy sails.
Monday 4th Nov, 2019 - AM
We've kicked off our Newcastle Winds of Joy Campaign with a lovely sail this morning with students from Newcastle High School.
Everyone was really keen to be involved with the jobs on board, including hoisting the sail on their own.
One of the highlights of the morning was seeing a seal out on a buoy who let us get up quite close. The students decided to name him Jeff, or Uncle Jeff.
Monday 4th Nov, 2019 - PM
How awesome is this sight in Newcastle?
I caption this shot, "Gone Sailing..."
Chelsea from Kurri Kurri High School came on board in her wheelchair but soon after we left the dock she wanted to get out and slide around on the deck like our wheelchair-user crew member Renee does.
It absolutely made Renee's day to see Chelsea so keen to have a go at everything and not be phased about getting the job done differently to her classmates. Chelsea loved the wind and feeling the boat move around on the waves. We were able to see a mother dolphin and her baby swimming close together. Chelsea found it an incredible thing to witness and was laughing with delight and pointing out every time they surfaced.
Chelsea's classmates also had a great sail. The teachers commented on some of the fantastic behaviours and reactions they were seeing on the boat that they hadn't seen before. It was said to be the best excursion they had been on. Another teacher commented on how relaxed everyone was and how the helpful crew made her feel at ease with the student's safety.
A very pleasant and successful afternoon in Newcastle!
Tuesday 5th Nov, 2019 - AM
This morning we had a special visit from 4 representatives from Port Waratah Coal Services, who are kindly sponsoring the 11 Winds of Joy sails happening in Newcastle this week.
We enjoyed showing them around Kayle and talking about the different features that makes her accessible for people with a wide range of disabilities. They then stayed to see a group of students arrive for their morning on board.
Tuesday 5th Nov, 2019 - AM
The weather was too windy for safe sailing in Newcastle in the morning but that didn't stop students from Newcastle High School from having a great time. We just did something that most people who visit us don't get to do! The students sent each other up the mast as high as they each chose to go. There was also tours below deck to see what life on a racing yacht is like, and a bucket and tether challenge.
The teachers and crew were impressed to see the students working so well together as a team without any real prompting. Someone impressed us with their determination to keep winching even though it was getting difficult. Someone else impressed us with having a go at everything even though they were scared. And another student impressed us by deciding in their own time and space to come on board.
Thank you Newcastle High School for a great morning!
Tuesday 5th Nov, 2019 - PM
A windy afternoon in Newcastle meant in-dock activities from East Maitland Public School. BUT don't think that this meant we had any less fun or challenge!
First up was below deck tours and bucket and tether races. The highlights of the below deck tour was most definitely seeing the toilet and trying out the bunks. The students found it funny to pull their bunk up onto an angle like we do in order to sleep without the boat's motion on the waves rolling us out.
Going up the mast can be quite a daunting activity. The teacher was surprised to see one student in particular have a go and then end up loving it so much that he went up as far as the rope would go.
The teachers were also amazed to see the students begin to open up and interact with the crew. The activity with the tethers definitely helped with that. Tethers can be a little difficult to operate at first. But when you want to be involved with the racing game and have a chance at beating your classmate you might decide that the friendly crew member isn't so scary after all and that you can ask them for help.
Well done East Maitland Public School for achieving so many things on board Kayle!
Wednesday 6th Nov, 2019 - AM
What a glamour morning we've had in Newcastle with students from Northlakes High School!
We saw dolphins, pelicans, and Jeff the Seal was really funny to watch as he tried to time his leaps from the water with the waves in order to get up onto a big yellow buoy. The students were also able to point out a number of different types of transport. There were 4 big tugboats, 2 big cargo ships to keep out of the way of, the ferry, the dredge boat, a pilot boat, two fighter jets AND a helicopter taking off from the cargo ship with the ship pilot on board. It was a very exciting morning with SO much to see!
There was also much to be done on board.
The students helped us bring the fenders in from the side of the boat after we left the dock. One student was helping crew member Renee - and Renee was laughing a lot as the student beat her in all three of the knot untying races. And Renee was trying!
The crew appreciated help in raising the sail. They all put in their best effort, and there were a few shy smiles from those who saw what they were able to do. After that we had lots of times to relax, take turns of steering the boat and helping crew member Joan trim the sail.
Well done everyone on a successful morning for discovering some self confidence and natural sailing ability!
Wednesday 6th Nov, 2019 - PM
This afternoon in Newcastle we had a great sail with a group of men from Sunnyfield Disability Services.
I lost count of the number of times I was told that this was really fun! It was the first time that all 7 of them had been on a sailing boat, and they all keenly said that they would love to sail again.
Steering was the favourite job of the sail, with lots of grins of accomplishment. Pulling the different ropes was the next favourite. We saw dolphins, and Jeff the Seal was back up on his favourite beach-coloured buoy, sunning himself.
Well done guys!
Thursday 7th Nov, 2019 - AM
Breakfast time on the Winds of Joy Northern Campaign!
It's quite an experience living on a boat. A bit like camping but the 'tent' moves a little.
We're currently looking for volunteers for the Winds of Joy Hobart Campaign in February 2020. Dates will come out in a few months time for the Winds of Joy Northern Campaign 2020, but generally, it will be during the months of August and September.
Seriously consider signing up for part of these campaigns, because it's a lot of fun. Yes, the crew don't really know each other at first, but don't let that discourage you. I've found that you get to know each other quite quickly and friendships will be made. Our marina neighbour can attest that there is a lot of laughter coming from Kayle in the evening!
Contact the office about opportunities to travel and live on board for the two annual outreach campaigns.
Thursday 7th Nov, 2019 - AM
Yee-Ha!! It's gusting over 30 kn here in the marina at Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club so the students from Newcastle High School have been having a great time exploring the boat in the dock.
They've been checking out all the below-deck features of a race yacht, including the funny toilet with no seat and no door, the weird beds that you can pull up to sleep on an angle, and all the radios and navigation equipment.
Meanwhile, up on deck the other students have been doing tether and bucket races - something which we do while at sea.
Afterwards, it was the mast lifting activity, where we worked on team work, courage and trust.
Thursday 7th Nov, 2019 - PM
Callaghan College Jesmond Campus students came on board Kayle this afternoon in Newcastle.
It was gusting 25-30 kn in the marina and stronger outside, so for safety reasons we stayed in the dock and did a number of other activities.
Well done to everyone for getting involved in everything and trying your best. There were three brave students who pushed themselves to go quite high up the mast. We loved hearing the squeals of delight and nervousness!
Friday 8th Nov, 2019 - AM
Kayle just had a lovely morning sail around the Newcastle harbour with Newcastle Middle School.
Taj was super keen to be involved with all the jobs on the boat, especially steering. We were really proud of the students who were a bit nervous at first, but in their own time, found the courage to move around the boat and even sit up on the bow.
Bethany did an amazing job of pushing herself to go up to the bow. With her teacher on one side and expert level deck-slider Renee on the other side, she slid her way up to the bow at her own pace, stopping for breaks to take a nice calming breathe in and out.
Congratulations everyone on a lovely sail that was full of experiences and accomplishments!
Friday 8th Nov, 2019 - PM
The breeze picked up too much in the afternoon for safely taking the boat out, so instead the students from Newcastle Middle School took part in some in-dock activities.
The teachers commented on how well some of the students did in the tether and bucket activity, and that they were surprised to see them take to a completely new environment and activity without being overwhelmed.
Opening the clip on a tether isn't an easy thing - Renee herself admits to struggling at times when her hand isn't functioning so well. But we had some determined young people who didn't give in. Finding the dexterity to even do half is an achievement, so we had some smiling faces!
Exploring downstairs is always a treat, and listening to stories of how some SWD sailors with a disability adapt to life on the boat.
Last activity was going up the mast. WELL DONE to the handful of students who felt brave enough to try, and to those who learnt how to use the winches. We were thrilled when one of the students in a wheelchair asked to be carried up to the mast so she could have a go as well.
Excellent work everyone!
Saturday 9th Nov, 2019 - AM
Thank you families and friends of Early Links Inclusion Support Service for making the last program of our 2019 Northern Campaign such a great morning for us in Newcastle!
It was too windy and a bad wind angle to safely take the boat out, but we still had a great time on Kayle.
It was a treat for our crew to have Guide Dog Keith come on board with Paul, wearing his life jacket and name tag. Keith has been trained to be comfortable on boats, but then we realized that he hasn't seen someone being winched up the mast. Fellow vision impaired young person Noah was the first very keen subject to put his hand up to go. Keith was okay with that, until about halfway up when he began barking and whimpering. Keith had to hold his nerve though and trust us, because Noah wanted to go as high as he could. Take a look of the photo of how high Noah went. He loved it.
Others weren't so keen in going nearly as high. But it's not about how high you go - it's that you challenge yourself to give it a go, you trust the people on the deck controlling the lift, and you feel accomplished in YOUR effort, not comparing yourself to anyone else.
One young person had been preparing really hard over the last weeks to acknowledge and manage his fears and anxieties about coming on the boat. Not long after coming on board he began to move around the deck and explore downstairs like the others. It's always fantastic to see young people dealing with their anxieties and seeing that they can have the power over them.
Downstairs was one of the big highlights of the morning! We spent a down there letting them explore and experience the funny bunks.
It was great to have a lovely group of people on board!
Saturday 9th Nov, 2019 - PM
As the 11 Winds of Joy sails during our week in Newcastle comes to an end, and as we the volunteer crew are having a nap before preparing to bring Kayle back to Sydney tonight... we want to say a big THANK YOU!
THANK YOU Port Waratah Coal Services for providing the funds for this leg of the campaign through a community grant.
THANK YOU Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club for being fabulous hosts. We've appreciated the marina, the great facilities, the club, and all the very welcoming staff and club members.
THANK YOU Skipper Mike and my fellow volunteer crew for giving your time and/or leave from work in order to have the programs running. Living on the boat with the people who have become mates is also a high point of our traveling campaigns.
THANK YOU to our organizers behind the scenes - booking groups and facilities etc.
THANK YOU to our social media followers for your support and comments
THANK YOU to our clients! You are the reason we all put the effort in. We love to see your smiles. We love to see you accomplishing things you never believed you could. We love to see your attitude and resilience. Your stories have touched us and each crew member is taking away special memories and experiences.
Good bye Newcastle, but we will see you soon!
Potential local volunteer crew - contact the office and put your name down to be contacted the next time we travel to Newcastle.
Potential clients/organizations - contact the office and put your name down to be contacted next time we open bookings for Newcastle sails.
Potential sponsors/supporters-and-sponsors - without grants or donations our free programs cannot run and we most definitely will not be able to afford taking our campaigns to other areas. Contact the office if you have any funding ideas.
Monday 11th Nov, 2019
Kayle and her delivery crew had a great trip down from Newcastle to Sydney over Saturday night and Sunday morning.
The weather window agreed on by David, Skipper Mike and Second-in-Command Greg was excellent. We had a nice variation of SW to WNW breezes ranging from 5-15 knots. With the first reef in the main sail and the smaller J4 head sail we motor sailed the whole way, with boat speeds ranging from 6-10 knots.
The crew worked together well - with Joan keeping up the supply of biscuits and waking you up for your watch with a lollie snake, Mike mastering the gas oven temp and time to cook meat pies for everyone, Greg navigated us through The Heads and through Sydney Harbour, and Delilah and Renee made a great alternative watch pair by sharing Renee's easier access bunk and outer layer offshore jacket when it's warm enough below deck for napping Renee but cold and breezy on deck for Delilah on watch. Our crew learn a lot and make experiences working together - very worthwhile to be part of!
We were dropping sails in Sydney as the nearly full moon was setting behind the city. Tied up in the marina by 5 am and a nap for everyone before we started the big boat pack down and clean. Once again, the crew knuckled down and worked together to get Kayle sparkling inside and out again, and all traveling and living-aboard gear packed away in the Cubby. It only took us 3 hours - go crew!
Kayle is now out on her usual Monday Winds of sails in Sydney.
We're working hard towards our mission and the reason we exist.