Tamsin McLeod (23), originally from the Falkland Islands, was 19 when she was able to fulfil her travel ambition with the help of Southampton-based charity, the Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST).
The budding explorer spotted that JST’s flagship, SV Tenacious, was on its way to the Falklands, and seeing that the charity offered people of mixed abilities the chance to sail aboard and “learn the ropes” of what life is like at sea, Tamsin decided it was an ideal opportunity for her.
Being in the fortunate position of having a temporary job at the time while on her gap year, Tamsin was able to sign up to one of the sailing charity’s voyages straight away.
She said: “After reading about JST’s voyages in the paper and speaking to the charity’s permanent crew at an open day event, I was very excited. I’d never sailed before, but with a love for the ocean, I knew this was an experience I didn’t want to turn down.”
It was in 2018 that Tamsin climbed aboard Tenacious for the first time, voyaging from the Falkland Islands to South Georgia and Cape Town. And, learning a lot and making great friends on board, she has never looked back.
Tamsin added: “Sailing aboard Tenacious allowed me to reset and do something completely different to what I normally do. It was hard work, especially the 4am shifts where we would be a part of sail handling, navigation, looking out for icebergs, or preparing breakfast in the galley, but it was humbling.
“With an inspirational voyage crew who all had their own story to tell, I felt like a real part of the team, and I really hit it off with my bunkmate Megan, who I’ve become great friends with.”
On a JST voyage, all passengers have a role and, with support from the ship’s crew, are part of the Watch who run the ship. Tamsin enjoyed being able to learn practical skills on board and working in the ship’s galley (kitchen) was her highlight.
She said: “Working in the galley was the best bit for me. It’s the real heart of the ship and where everyone comes to relax and eat. It’s more dangerous than your average kitchen but that’s what made it fun.”
Since her very first experience with the JST, Tamsin has been on another voyage, namely the battle of the barques race, also in 2018. And, continuing her travel expeditions, she has also backpacked around South America with friend, and fellow voyager, Megan.
Patrick Fleming, CEO of the Jubilee Sailing Trust, said: “It’s so wonderful to hear Tamsin’s story and to hear how voyaging helped her fulfil her travel dream.
“We want to give everyone the opportunity to explore their potential at sea, whatever their circumstances, and I’m so glad Tamsin decided to climb aboard when she did.”
A sixth generation Falklander Islander, Tamsin, recently approached the JST to ask if they could commemorate the 40th anniversary of the start of the Islands’ independence. Keen to support this significant milestone, the sailing charity flew a flag for the Falklands from its tall ship throughout the month of April.
Now living in London, Tamsin works for the Falkland Island government office, having completed a law conversion course in 2020.
The JST charity offers people of all abilities the opportunity to climb aboard its tall ship Tenacious for an immersive sailing experience and relies on funding from the public. Since its founding in 1978 the Jubilee Sailing Trust has welcomed more than 50,000 people on board.
For more information about JST and its work, visit: https://jst.org.uk/
Feature image: Tamsin is pictured on the right hand side