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April 19, 2017

Sunderland to Newcastle voyage, 12-15th April 2017 – by Ellie Lyall

Being only one of two Sunderland Sail Training Ambassadors offered a place on the Lord Nelson this week, I was left guessing who else would be joining Kieran and me on this voyage. I had images playing through my mind of hardened Navy veterans, gold medallists and other nautical experts. And then there would be me, with little to no experience whatsoever.

But what I found were people in exactly the same boat as me (pardon the horrific pun!). Most of the other voyage crew consisted of staff from Barclays bank. And, like me, a fair few had never been on a ship before except for the odd cruise (but we don’t mention cruises here). With this immediate rush of relief, I was ready to crack on with training.

Upon settling into our crib-like bunks, we gathered in the lower mess to meet the permanent crew. It was then I noticed something quite special about this Barclays crew in particular: they love a good round of applause.

The first of which was given when introduced to the cook, which is understandable. However, the applause didn’t stop there; it carried on throughout the whole of the voyage. A real sense of camaraderie and togetherness was formed through this encouragement and laughter throughout. From cheering people on while climbing the rigging to successfully setting the main sail for the first time. What started out as a joke soon became a sign of acceptance and support from one crewmate to another.

So, on this final night, with our Watch Leader very kindly offering to buy us a drink in the bar, I wonder how many rounds of applause he will receive for this gesture.

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