Pupils from Dauntsey’s School are in training for their forthcoming trip on the school’s Tall Ship, Jolie Brise, when they will crew the vessel in the Halifax to Le Havre transatlantic final race leg of Rendez-vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta.

The eight sixth form students recently took part in a day-long Royal Yachting Association course and learnt how to summon help, use VHF radio, handle distress flares and make a Mayday call.

The practical session in the pool included experiencing the problems of entering an uncooperative life raft and assisting others while fully kitted out in wet weather gear and a lifejacket.

One of the sixth formers said: “We are very excited about taking on this challenge of sailing Jolie Brise across the Atlantic and doing this course made it all seem very real. We hope we won’t need to make any Mayday calls but it is very reassuring to learn how we can keep safe on our adventure. The only bad part of the day was trying the survival rations – some rather unpleasant fatty dried biscuits!”

Dauntsey’s head of sailing, Toby Marris, will be skipper for this leg of the race with Adam Sager as first mate and Old Dauntseian, Ollie Barnes, as bosun. This crew will join Jolie Brise in Halifax, Nova Scotia on 31 July for the end of the in-port festivities.

They will then race across the North Atlantic, cutting across the Gulf Stream and Labrador Current. It is as this point, where these two currents meet, that large marine species are invariably encountered. Once across the Atlantic, they will complete the race at the finish line south of the Isle of Wight, and then cruise in the Solent, France and Channel Islands, before heading to Le Havre (where Jolie Brise was built) for the final Tall Ships in-port event to celebrate the Rendez-vous 2017 festivities.

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