Booked your JST voyage? Here’s some tips from Kate Wood who sailed recently for the first time with the JST. Kate from Sheffield is a parent carer for her 24-year-old son, Ryan, who is visually impaired and also took part in the voyage.


I learnt a lot about myself on this trip. It’s not a boat ride, it’s a working holiday. I realised how much I enjoy and need to feel part of a team.

Here’s more of what I learned:

Sea sickness – been there done that. Take the meds when the Medical Purser tells you too because you’ll regret it if you don’t. Having said that everyone found their sea legs within 24 hours – so for those who have experienced sea sickness on a short trip – chances are you would have gotten over it if you were to come on a similar length trip – so don’t let that put you off.

Embrace your inner early bird – I loved getting up in the (very early) morning and seeing the bright sun over the horizon on the Atlantic ocean.

Get involved – I loved doing mess duty – running around and being lurched from wall to wall whilst trying to maintain calm in a galley not too dissimilar of Fawlty towers. Sorry Ian and Delia – that’s no reflection of your lovely gentle and friendly personalities.

Chat to everyone (you can’t not) – I loved playing cards with the young folk and meeting people from all over the world. Disabled, non-disabled, young, old, sailor, non-sailor – and just hearing their story. Hey I even loved my little bunk with it’s curtain and little light.

Essentials to bring – I made sure I bought my iPad and downloaded shows in advance, and earplugs and eye mask are a must. It’s noisy and people are on different watches. Don’t let this put you off. I’ve had trouble sleeping in dorm situations in the past but to be honest after a day or so you’re too tired to even care and you just fall asleep.

No WiFi folks but there is a place to plug in your phone for charging.

Don’t worry about going hungry – the food was good (lots of it) and added to the trips value for money.

Be ready to be part of a fantastic team – we had to do stints of 4-hour watch which consisted of sometimes getting up at 4am.

Everyone is split into a “watch” group which in our case consisted of 6 people. On a rota we had to perform tasks similar (if not the same) as that of a proper crew. In 4-hour stints we had to be at the helm, watch for boats, buoys on port or starboard side (see, I even got into the lingo).

And here’s the rub – are you listening carefully now because this is NOT an option – and this is where coming on a working holiday really comes into its own.

Whilst sailing, a watch (group of people on duty) have to be on watch 24/7.

So obviously you can’t stop watching for potential danger just because it’s night time and you need to sleep. It’s so very worth it though because you’re part of something, and that’s incredibly special.


Most importantly have fun on your upcoming voyage. And if you’re procrastinating over booking one, just do it! I’d say a JST sailing trip is essential for your life-long learning experience.

I got so much out of it and am definitely going to sail again with the JST. The charity were so supportive from the onset and really went above and beyond to make sure we were okay as a family.


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