In today’s volunteer spotlight, we meet John Kearns – who shares some terrific images of Taikoo in the Tall Ships, plus James Cook from OYC Northeast and Spirit of Boadicea from OYC East.
⛵ Q: How long have you volunteered with OYTS?
A: I started with OYC on Samuel Whitbread on the South coast in 1988. After a few years there & up here (on Taikoo) I had a long gap working abroad. I re-engaged in 2016. I’m currently Watch Leader. And I’m pleased & proud that my daughter, Catriona, has qualified as both Bosun and Watch Leader in 2019.
⛵ Q: What was your first sailing experience?
A: I was persuaded to buy an old wooden Mirror dinghy from a work colleague – I’ve never looked back.
⛵ Proudest/most memorable sailing moment?
A: August ’91 on Taikoo leaving Aberdeen Harbour as part of Tall Ships. Great vibe – but absolute chaos herding the crew back onboard before departure. Awful weather en-route. A youngster in my watch, who didn’t want to be there at the start, discovered he was the only one who could stick it on-watch without being sick. Seeing a youngster with little self-confidence discover they could ‘do it’ must be a memorable moment for many volunteers, not just me.
⛵ Q: What made you start volunteering with OYTS?
A: I worked for a small but an unusually enlightened oil company in the 1980s. They offered an extra week unpaid leave for social/volunteering roles. I could just fit in the weekend training requirement and week-long trip required at that time as a minimum by OYC.
⛵ Q: What’s your favourite part of being a volunteer?
A: It’s seeing the difference that outdoor education can make to youngsters. I’m also involved with Duke of Ed – same outcomes & same enjoyment seeing it work.
⛵ If you were a boat, what kind would you be&why?
A: Wooden Drascombe Lugger. Lo-tech (no electrics & no holes in the hull). Versatile (inc. fishing). Transportable. Easily reef-able. Camp-able for short trips at tiny anchorages. And wood is much easier to modify than plastic.