OCC Youth Sponsorship participants sail across the Atlantic

OCC Youth Sponsorship participants sail across the Atlantic

"We are on Cloud 9 and are just delighted to have made it to Barbados and been so lucky with the boat, crew, and, of course, OCC support!"

By Daria Blackwell - 01/02/2020

"Greetings from sunny Barbados!," was the message received by Fiona Jones, coordinator of the OCC Youth Sponsorship Programme. Sarah McKernan and Emily O'Carroll, two young sailors from Ireland, had joined the crew of Ultima, an Oyster 56, for a successful passage from the Cape Verdes to Barbados, with OCC members Jon and Angie Barkway and two other crew members, Charlie and Kim.

"There were six of us. Great fun!," says Sarah. "We're all great friends now. :) And so happy to be part of this amazing network of cruisers!"

They had good conditions and even caught a flying fish. Sarah has been posting to the OCC Instagram page and both Emily and Sarah are getting down to work on documenting their story for the Flying Fish. They are planning to also edit down video footage from their trip, which we'll look forward to sharing.

The young women have been best friends for years having met in Malahide where they participated in sailing programmes together, including a long affiliation with Sea Scouts. Sarah noted before setting off, "There are very few people in the world who could make the decision to get on a boat and sail for up to three weeks without seeing land. I consider myself lucky that this is a possibility and not a far-off dream that I would be too scared to take part in otherwise. I think my involvement in sea scouts and living beside the sea has really encouraged the sense of freedom I feel while being on the water. This will be the experience of a lifetime, that hopefully, I will talk about forever (or until my friends/family have heard enough)."

The environmental friendliness of sailing also resonates with both Sarah and Emily, who wrote before departing, " I have always dreamt of doing an Atlantic crossing. I love the feeling of freedom sailing provides and being able to get into the nooks and crannies of just about anywhere! I love to meet new people and share all of the joy and wonder the sea has to offer so this opportunity would be a dream come true for me. At the moment, I am working for an Environmental NGO, as an Environmental Education Officer. Part of my job role is leading and facilitating beach clean-ups, so marine health and ecosystems are a big love of mine. Conscious travel is also very important to me so sailing instead of flying would be a dream!"

Emily added, "I'm a firm believer in the quote 'share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality', which I feel reflects what your sponsorship scheme is offering, an opportunity to learn skills I could only dream of! And what better way to learn than by long-distance sailing with an experienced skipper!"

Welcome to the OCC, Sarah and Emily!

To view more of their photos from the passage and arrival in Barbados, follow the link below.

All photos (c) Sarah McKernan and Emily O'Carroll

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