FOUR young Whitsunday sailors had the experience of a lifetime when they were given the opportunity to sail the Australian Navy's square-rigged training ship, Young Endeavour, around the Whitsundays.
Josh McMullen, Jarred Mullen and Charles and Louis Budini were among 26 young Australians who were lucky enough to experience the art of sailing first-hand, onboard the ancient vessel.
For eleven days, the aspiring sailors sailed around the Whitsundays learning from some of the world's best, including the captain of Young Endeavour, Lieutenant Commander Gavin Dowe.
“It's more than just sailing,” Lt Cmdr Dowe said
“We work through a program of team work, communication and leadership skill.
“They just love to be able to sail this fantastic ship, and that's the great thing, we bring them all together from everywhere and are now life-long friends.”
Charles described his time aboard the ship as a life-changing experience.
“It was amazing,” he said.
“It's the best thing I've done in my whole life.”
“It's something we'll look back on and it will be memorable for all of us,” he said.
These local sailors were given the opportunity to be part of the program run by the Youth Endeavour Scheme and the Australian Navy, after the Rotary Club of Airlie Beach sponsored them.
“We basically support people who wouldn't normally get the opportunity to do this,” Rotary representative Mark O'Donnell said.
“It gives them an opportunity that stays with them for the rest of their lives.
“All the young people have said that it is simply the best experience of their lives.
“It's great because these young people will be leaders of our world in the future.”
Following their voyage, the young Whitsunday sailors expressed their thanks to the Rotary Club of Airlie Beach.
Unfortunately, Louis Budini was only on the ship for five days after a blood vessel in his eye burst.
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