Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 9 2009 Contents 44
aBOVe: L-R: Leading seaman Cook Jarod Bailey,
Leading seaman Boatswains Mate Penny Watson, sub
Lieutenant Donovan Van Putten and Chief Petty Officer
Physical Training Instructor Dave evans climb the
foremast on sail Training ship Young endeavour.
aBOVe: Commanding Officer of sail
Training ship Young endeavour,
Lieutenant Gavin Dawe, stands on the
ship's bow sprit. Photo: LEUT Brooke Olds
sAIl trAInInG shIP younG enDeAVour
t is not uncommon to find
a navy crew member
suspended 100 feet above
a heavily-rolling wooden
deck frantically heaving in
sails when posted to the sail
Training ship Young Endeavour.
A posting to the tall ship is unlike any other
in the Royal Australian Navy. Although Young
Endeavour has many of the standard billets of a
warship, including a commanding officer, executive
officer (referred to as sail master), navigator,
marine technician and cook, it is the three
rotational watch leader roles that make working
aboard this ship so unique and appealing.
“All members posted to the Young Endeavour are
required to be qualified as a watch leader,” sail master
Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) Dion Curtis said.
“Watch leaders are responsible for guiding
the personal journey of eight young adults while
they undertake an 11-day voyage at sea.”
The Young Endeavour Youth Scheme provides
young Australians with a unique, challenging and
inspirational experience at sea that increases their
self-awareness, develops their teamwork and
leadership skills, and creates a strong sense of
Navy members undergo a rigorous selection
process before being posted to Young Endeavour.
They deliver a structured youth development
program to groups of 24 young Australians during
each voyage, while teaching them the skills to
successfully sail and then take command of the
“The youth program is upbeat, entertaining,
flexible, energetic and fun,” Chief Petty Officer
(CPO) Dave ‘Taffy’ Evans said.
“We teach them seaman-like skills including
rope work, deck work, working aloft and, of
course, sailing. But most importantly, we build
teamwork and encourage leadership.”
The staff focus is to build each of these
qualities amongst members of the youth crew,
culminating in command day, when the youth crew
have the skill and confidence to take command
and sail the ship themselves.
“Seeing the growth in people from day one to
day 11, and having had a hand in facilitating that,
is incredibly rewarding,” LCDR Curtis said.
CPO Evans agrees. “You get a huge amount of
satisfaction watching people initially walk onto the
ship, completely overwhelmed, until the final day
when they’ve reached beyond their expectations
having had the experience of their lives.”
But a job in Young Endeavour isn’t for
everybody. Due to the unique nature of the role,
a watch leader requires certain personal skills.
“You need to be someone that wants to
make a difference and wants an adventure,” CPO
Evans said. “Qualities such as patience, humility,
understanding and a genuine interest in people
However, many skills are able to be developed
after posting to the ship.
“A common misconception is that you need
to have experience in sailing, but that’s something
you can learn on the job,” LCDR Curtis said. “This
posting tends to refine your people skills, enhance
your communication skills and fine tune your
One thing is for certain – to be a Young
Endeavour watch leader requires a lot of energy,
enthusiasm and empathy.
“I always relate well to the farewell day,”
CPO Evans said. “In fact, when the youth are
shedding tears as they depart, you won’t see too
many of the Navy staffs who are not moved by the
emotion. It truly is a special experience.”
Voyages in Young Endeavour are open to
all Australians aged 16-23. For more information
please visit www.youngendeavour.gov.au.
On 23 May 2009, Sail Training Ship
Young Endeavour embarked on
a circumnavigation of Australia,
departing from Sydney with a
program that included visits to
Brisbane, Bundaberg, Mackay,
Airlie Beach, Townsville, Cairns,
Darwin, Broome, Exmouth,
Fremantle, Esperance, Adelaide
and Williamstown. Young
Endeavour will return to Sydney
in December 2009. Up to 700
youth will have sailed in
Young Endeavour during the
Brooke Olds boarded the
historic tall ship and filed
the following report.
SkillS of old on
Chief Petty Officer Dave evans stands atop
the Course Yard of sail Training ship Young
endeavour. Photo: LEUT Brooke Olds
BeLOW: Leading seaman Communications
Information systems Carly southam (right) gives
commands to members of sail Training ship
Young endeavour Youth Group whilst tacking
during a tall ship regatta off the coast of Perth.
Photo: ABIS Dove Smithett
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