Offaly woman recalls 'life-changing' tall ships experience
Tullamore native Erica Prendergast was asked to speak about her recent Tall Ship adventures at Sail Training Ireland’s Annual Awards ceremony at the Mansion House in Dublin recently.
Erica jumped at the chance to take part in her first voyage onboard the tall ship ‘Pelican of London’ early last Summer thanks to a last-minute place becoming available. She did not realise that her life was about to change.
Erica fell in love with the ship, the sea, and the sights. She very quickly decided that this was a life she wanted and went about pursuing a career at sea. With the assistance of Sail Training Ireland, she participated in three further voyages last Summer. Erica was then asked to work on the tall ship ‘Maybe’ during its winter refit and maintenance.
Having endured some personal struggles, Erica credits her first voyage with giving her the confidence to take this new course in life. The voyage opened her eyes to a whole new world of opportunity. She is pursuing a Competent Crew Certificate which she hopes to follow up with Skipper qualifications.
“To say I am living the dream is an understatement. I love my life at present. Since I started sailing with Sail Training Ireland, lots of things are happening for me. I have my self-worth back, self-confidence, a purpose in life. I can work as a team member and learn new skills. I'm also eager to learn about the ships. I have made good friends on the voyages and have memories I can cherish for life. I now have a purpose in life which before I never had,” commented Erica.
Sail Training Ireland is a charity that provides training programmes aboard Tall Ships and other vessels to people from all backgrounds and abilities on the island of Ireland.