CatZero 2017

Thursday, 31 August, 2017

From July 7th to July 16th 12 students and one member of staff lived on board the 72 foot Yacht ‘Cat Zero’. Named for Category Zero which means that she is good to sail in any conditions on the globe.

We sailed from Portsmouth and visited several of the Channel Islands. For the final 3 days and nights we sailed non stop along the English Channel, up the North Sea and back to Hull.
Those are the bare bones of our adventure. I had often wondered at the adoration that sailors express for their boats. I have often wondered at the phrase ‘ship-mate’ and I have often wondered what it is like to be truly sea-sick. I now truly understand all these things. Cat Zero is the most beautiful boat in the entire world. 

The 12 students and 5 crew with whom I sailed will always be special to me, and sea sickness is truly, truly, awful. We all survived and thrived on no more than 3 hours sleep at a time for the last 3 days, endured rough seas, strong winds, light winds, learned how to plot courses, tie knots, and the importance of both helping and relying on other people.  

I have steered a ship by a star, and seen 7 meteorites in one 3 hour watch. We have chatted, laughed and worked hard together. Be in no doubt, this was, for me at least, a life changing experience at a time when I thought I had probably finished with those.

Of sailing as a learning tool, a US Commander (Capt. Cummings, of the USCGC ‘Eagle’ – worth googling) said “the lessons you can learn about…yourself and your fellow shipmates…you cannot learn better on any platform”.

Before I sailed onboard Cat Zero with it’s Captain Danny and our crew, I was sceptical about that. Now, I am utterly convinced.


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