Waking up to the gentle rocking of the sea and plunging into the salty waters of the Hauraki Gulf helped 10 budding Wairarapa College sailors win a coveted trophy.

Ten Year 10 students made up the Wairarapa College team that was part of a five-day Spirit Trophy Voyage on the sailing ship Spirit of Adventure and came away with the Spirit Trophy.

The Spirit of Adventure Trust runs an annual nation-wide ballot for the Year 10 trip and Wairarapa College was selected this year and have also participated in 2011, 2013 and 2015.

The students flew to Auckland from Wellington and spent time sailing around the Hauraki Gulf with students from three other colleges.

Teacher Sue Thomson also went on the voyage says a typical day involved 6.30am swims, chores, ship maintenance, deck activities and team challenges. Not only did they sail but they went rafting and participated in beach activities like a four-way tug-o-war.

One of the team challenges was to create a team song and design a flag.

Ms Thomson says the students really enjoyed the sailing aspect, particularly the challenge of going underneath the Auckland Harbour Bridge at hightide and boarding a visiting Chinese warship.

‘There was a lot of teamwork involved and a great opportunity to show leadership and meets lots of new people.”

She says the challenges and activities put the students outside their comfort-zone and they learned a lot about themselves.

The students had to fundraise to go on the trip and warm team clothing for when on the ship. They would like to thank Eastwoods Hyundai, Breadcraft, Tomlinson and Carruthers, Lockyer Drainlaying and Plumbing and Hydraulink .

‘I had a fantastic time on the Spirit of Adventure. I learned so many new things, made so many new friends acquired some skills that I didn’t have before.

The raft racing was hard work and I could hardly feel my arms the morning after but the was more than worth it!’ Charlee Gooding

‘The Spirit of Adventure is an amazing once in a lifetime experience.

It pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to meet some friendly new people who I will share friendships with forever.

Overall, this was a surreal experience that I would do again if I had the opportunity.’ Lilly Hamill-Harris.

‘“I loved the trip. We did lots of awesome activities and made loads of new friends. I would definitely recommend this to others.’ Grace Hancox

‘The morning swim was freezing. Everyone had to wait in a line to jump overboard. We got to shower and have hot drinks after though, so it was fine. By the third day I didn’t even notice the cold.

It was the best experience of my life. I made so many friends I’ll never forget. I learned so much. I’m definitely going again!’ Matthew King