A group of Gordonstoun pupils have set sail on the adventure of a lifetime aboard the school’s training yacht Ocean Spirit of Moray.
The 70 teenagers celebrated completion of their exams at the school a week ago – and immediately set off on an 80-day trip that will see them circumnavigate the UK.
In a journey that has been planed as part of the Moray school’s 80th anniversary celebrations, the yacht set sail from Kyle in a northerly direction that will take them along the coast to Cape Wrath.
One of the pupils is 17-year-old Bethany Donald, originally from Inverness, who said: “I have been looking forward to this for voyage all year – it is great to be part of the first leg of the anniversary voyage.
“I’m particularly looking forward to sailing into my home town on Tuesday.”
Ocean Spirit of Moray will visit nine ports on it’s journey when current and former students and their families will be invited aboard to celebrate the anniversary.
The school’s sail training co-ordinator, Ian Lerner, said: “We have over 70 students participating in the voyage over the summer and they are all very excited, whichever leg of the voyage they are taking part in.
“Every summer we have an adventure on the Ocean Spirit of Moray whether it be sailing to the Arctic of taking part in a Tall Ship’s race – but this year is special.”
Ocean Spirit of Moray is a fully equipped, ocean-going yacht built to the exacting safety standards laid down by the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency. She is capable of fast, safe passages in a range of weather conditions.
Owned by Gordonstoun it has the primary function as a Sail Training Vessel for the students, both Junior and Senior, and is designed to introduce and train them for the sea. The permanent staff on board are used to working with and instructing inexperienced sailors.
School Principal Simon Reid said: “Gordonstoun from its foundation in 1934 has always believed that academics alone are not enough for success in life and that valuable lessons can be learned on the water.
“Sail training has been part of the curriculum since the earliest days because of the amount it teaches students about teamwork, self-awareness and leadership.”