Jolie Brise welcomed young sailors from the QE2 Activity Center
EIGHT Hampshire adults with learning disabilities, accompanied by two support staff and a professional crew, have returned from the experience of a lifetime – a week on the century-old gaff cutter, the Jolie Brise.
La Jolie Brise, built in Le Havre in 1913 and now owned by the Dauntsey School, is a familiar sight around the Solent, a much loved old lady who has been a sail training boat since 1975.
The youngsters, from Charitable Incorporated Organization and QE2 Activity Center based at River Hamble Country Park in Hedge End, recently spent seven days and nights on the boat and experienced a quintessentially British summer holiday – four seasons in one week – a day to tan, then in full rain gear.
READ ALSO : QE2 Activity Center Launches New Wheelchair Accessible Boat
There was seasickness, seal watching and nights under the stars.
“When the skipper said sailing was the least important part of the week, I didn’t believe him. But watching our crew come together, working as one, whether it was hoisting the sails or putting food on the table, I saw what he meant,” said Phil Oates, QE2 Center Manager .
He had time to disembark in Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight, in Lymington, where the team was able to join a group of neurodiverse artists at the St Barbe Gallery, and in Portsmouth for a final night of celebration at flow.
In Portsmouth, part of the crew of a Danish square rigger, the George Stage, came aboard to take a look at the classic cutter.
And what did the young sailors think? “Bloody Brilliant!” says Paul Jordan, a sentiment shared by others.
Phil added: “I don’t know who enjoyed it more, probably me!
“But it was great to see everyone having fun, trying new things, following technical instructions, helping friends and having a good time.”
The center offers activity sessions and day services for people of all ages with additional needs.
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