What does it feel like to volunteer for a youth work charity? We’re finding out with ‘Meet the OYTS volunteers.’
Today’s volunteer: Fiona Armer
? Q: How long have you been a volunteer with OYTS and what’s your role?
A: I’ve been a volunteer since about 2011 I think- it’s a bit hazy now!
? Q: What and with whom was your first sailing experience & what made you come back?
A: My first sailing experience was dinghy sailing on a local reservoir when I was at school. I enjoyed it but didn’t know how to follow it up as no one in my family sailed. 25 years later, I saw an article in the Health Service Journal about someone wanting crew for a Fastnet campaign and decided to try it. I loved offshore racing – the adventure of living on a boat and sailing to places. I learned to sail via 3 qualifying races and the 2005 Fastnet. Within 6 months I’d sold my house, quit my permanent job and signed up for a round the world yacht race.
⛵ Q: Proudest or most memorable sailing moment?
A: I did the Fastnet in 2005, Round Britain & Ireland in 2006 and the 2007-08 Clipper Round the World. So many memories! And a fair bit of sailing since. A highlight was being on the helm of my boat as we went up the African coast towards Durban from the Cape, with two (Southern Right?) whales playing chicken with the boat, leaping in our bow wave as dolphins do. I remember seeing their backs up higher than our deck as they were racing alongside, the skipper telling me just to keep the boat straight!
?Q: Favourite part of being a volunteer with OYTS?
A: Its the magic that happens on every voyage. Take a random mix of sea staff, volunteers & crew, the weather and places we get to see, the stuff we do – it’s different every time but always special.
⛵ Q: If you were a boat, what kind of boat would it be and why?
A: If I was a boat I’d have to be a nice, solid cruiser-racer. Monohull, preferably steel hulled or solid enough to go way north or south, or anywhere in the world – bit like Alba Explorer!