If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to work on a real tall ship, there’s good news: the Nansen is in dry dock at Bristol, and Seas Your Future are looking for volunteers to come and help.
You can volunteer to help with the refit in two ways. First, if you’re lucky enough to live close by, you can come to the shipyard, report to the first mate and work when you can. Second, if you’ve got more time, you can volunteer to live on site (currently in a caravan on the dockside) and dedicate full days: 8am to 5.30pm. If you go for the second way, you get a bed, and three meals a day.
Life varies a lot day to day. You could spend all day with a sander in an engine shed one day (magnificently satisfying), and then find yourself cleaning horrifying things off previously hidden bulkheads below in the ship the next day (also strangely fun). You could be sawing through old string and rope with a knife or standing in the anchor locker making sure the chain isn’t knotting as it is lowered to the dock bottom. Sometimes you’re outside in the sun or the rain and sometimes inside in a boiler suit. It’s hard work, but it’s incredibly rewarding — and sometimes there’s even Jaffa cakes.
And, even more importantly, there are the people. People who work on tall ships are fantastic. They come from all kinds of backgrounds and places — students from Ireland and Canada and Germany, people training to be bosuns, long-time yard workers who tell stories about refitting submarines or welding in fuel tanks on giant cargo carriers. There are people who never go to sea, and people who have spent their whole lives at sea. If you come to work on a tall ship refit, two things are guaranteed: you’ll do a proper day’s work, and you’ll laugh so much you never want to leave.
If you’d like to volunteer, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.