Monday, April 14, 2014

Tall Ship Pelican does the business on the high seas

TS Pelican in Weymouth harbour
If you’re looking for an unusual day out for your business, either as team building or just for fun, how about a day of sailing off the Jurassic Coast in Dorset?

The Tall Ship Pelican, based in Weymouth, operated by the charity Adventure Under Sail, provides sailing experiences for people of all ages. When it’s not sailing off to warmer climes or taking part in Tall Ships races, the Pelican is available for hire, both by private parties and small groups joining a scheduled day sail.

What’s involved in a day of sailing on the Pelican?

I was invited to join the first day sail of the season for 2014, on the first weekend in April. Unfortunately, the forecast wasn’t too promising, with rain expected from around 9am to 5pm, exactly the times of the trip. But I was determined that the weather would not dampen my first experience of tall ship sailing.

Teamwork gets the job done
After a warm welcome aboard by Captain Paul and his crew, the day began with the inevitable safety briefing. Alas, one of my ambitions was immediately thwarted, as day sailors are not permitted to climb the rigging.

Pulling on ropes is allowed, even encouraged, and there’s plenty of opportunity for that as sails are raised, lowered and adjusted. Some of us were given the chance to steer the ship, using the huge wheel at the stern. We were encouraged to ask lots of questions of the crew, a mix of permanent staff and volunteers.

Working on a sailing ship gives you an appetite and we were fortified by mid-morning bacon sandwiches and a wonderful lunch served from the busy galley.

Networking and knot working
Spending several hours in close proximity with others who share a common interest, in this case doing business in Weymouth and Portland, inevitably leads to interesting conversations and the exchange of contact details.

Lots of rope on a sailing ship
For those uncomfortable with a pure networking environment, or who simply wanted to use the day to escape from the office entirely, being aboard ship presented plenty of diversions. Among them was the vivid reminder that the variety of knots we associate with sailing ships exist for a reason, as we saw them in use and could even have a go at tying some ourselves.

No trip on the water is complete without a discussion of seasickness and there was plenty of sharing of extreme past experiences. Fortunately, while some of us may have had moments of discomfort (particularly when spending time inside) there was no sign of anyone having a real problem.

As for the weather during our day sail - the rain held off until after lunch and we had a few moments where the sun almost broke through. Our glimpses, through the murky mists, of Weymouth, Portland and the Jurassic Coast, were enough to show us that on a sunny day, sailing on the Pelican would be a very different experience.

For more information about the Tall Ship Pelican and Adventure Under Sail, visit their website. You can also follow them on Twitter and Facebook.