Sonya Watts

Spirit sails back to Lyttelton

Sonya Watts, 2 Mar 16
Akaroa attractions -

A group of Canterbury students will be joining the world's busiest youth ship when it returns to Lyttelton for the first time in three years. The Spirit of New Zealand, a three-masted barquentine, spends about 340 days a year at sea as schools of young people take part in its development programme. Participants started their day with a dip in the ocean - regardless of the time of year - before learning how to navigate and sail a ship in open waters and develop life-long transferable skills. When the ship departs on Friday, it would take seven more students from Canterbury. Students from Christchurch Boys' High, Rangiora High, Hurunui College, Mt Hutt College, Ashburton College and Geraldine High would be among those on board when the ship set sail. Rangiora High School student Thomas Warming-Smith sailed on the Spirit of New Zealand during a previous tour. He said the trip helped him learn to "not sweat the small stuff" and overcome an "ironic" fear of heights that might have otherwise got in the way of his goal of becoming a pilot. "I naturally tend to worry about things but now I can see the bigger picture of a situation. That learning wasn't from a particular thing that happened either. It was a gradual process over the [10] days." Warming-Smith said he had "countless highlights and memorable moments" from his trip. "I knew that I wanted to challenge myself and do everything that I was presented with. From climbing the mast or jumping off the ship to literally climbing a mountain at Great Barrier Island." The Spirit of Adventure Trust, which owns the ship and bases operations out of Auckland, usually used the Hauraki Gulf as its main sailing area, but planned country-wide travel every two or three years. Spokeswoman Summer Jenkins said the ship had visited Napier, Wellington, Nelson, Dunedin and Bluff during its current tour, offering public sailing trips at each location. "It's an opportunity for participants to experience the New Zealand coastline and for the Spirit to connect with communities around the country," she said. "We have a public sailing on Thursday afternoon in Lyttelton but this was sold out weeks ago, proving there is strong Spirit support in the Canterbury region." - Stuff