Falmouth student relishes adventure at sea with Tall Ships Youth Trust

28 May 2024

Student sailing
Student sailing
Type: Text
Category: Student stories

Marine & Natural History Photography BA(Hons) student Mim Hughes recently put aside the home comforts of dry land and took to the seas during a period of work experience. 

For just over two weeks during the spring, Mim worked with charity organisation Tall Ships Youth Trust (TSYT), touring the country’s south west coastline. TSYT aim to provide life-changing sailing experiences for young people. During her time onboard, Mim served as a crew member and photographer and filmmaker, stretching the skills from her degree at Falmouth.   

Speaking to Mim about her experiences, she provided us with a first-hand account of her adventure at sea!  

Mim Hughes: Recently, I had the incredible opportunity to embark on a two-and-a-half-week sailing journey along the coastline of the south west of England. The experience was not only an adventure but also a profound learning journey. From navigating rough weather to witnessing breathtaking sunsets and sunrises, every moment was filled with both challenge and beauty. We even had the extraordinary privilege of seeing dolphins swim beside us. 

I sailed with TSYT, who operate a fleet of tall ships and smaller vessels, offering voyages that range from day trips to extended expeditions. Their mission is to inspire and educate young people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, through the challenges and teamwork involved in sailing. In addition to their youth programs, TSYT also offers sailing opportunities for adults and corporate groups, providing a unique platform for team building and personal development. The revenue from these activities helps fund their charitable work, ensuring that they can continue to offer subsidised places for young people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to experience life at sea. 

The daily routine on board was as rigorous as it was rewarding. Some mornings began as early as 4:30 AM, greeting the day with anticipation and energy. Despite the long hours and late nights, with dinners sometimes not until midnight, every moment felt purposeful and invigorating. These shared experiences forged bonds of camaraderie and resilience among our crew that will last a lifetime. 

However, our journey took an unexpected turn when a windstorm hit while we were moored in Plymouth, resulting in the snapping of 11 mooring lines.

Mim HughesMim Hughes sailing with TSYT.

Despite this setback, at 7am on a Sunday when we were supposed to have a lie-in, we rallied together, demonstrating resilience and teamwork in the face of adversity. 

One of the most memorable moments of our trip was when the Royal Navy sailed by, offering a wave of acknowledgment, reminding us of the wider maritime community to which we belong. 

We stopped at some beautiful places like Dartmouth, Lymington and some sightseeing at Durdle Door. 

Now, as I reflect on this experience, I am filled with a renewed passion for the sea and a desire to give back to the sailing community. I am currently in the process of applying to volunteer with TSYT, where I hope to mentor young people while onboard the boats. Combining my love for sailing with my passion for photographing and filming people and their journeys feels like a natural next step for me after my degree. 

Looking ahead, I am excited to announce that I will be back onboard later in the year. I am eager to embark on this new adventure, capturing the beauty of the journey and the stories of those I meet along the way. And as someone with a deep love for the Arctic, I am particularly drawn to the possibility of combining my passion for the sea with exploration and conservation efforts in those remote regions. 

With its blend of adventure, resilience, and community, I believe that my little adventure encapsulates the spirit and opportunities available to Falmouth University students.  


Mim has now finished her second adventure with TSYT – a sea journey that took her from Swansea to Plymouth, stopping at Lundy, Falmouth and Fowey en route. She is also now a volunteer youth mentor with TSYT. 

To follow Mim’s future adventures, you can find her on Instagram. And you can also follow @tallshipsyt and visit her website

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