A Greenwich student is readying herself for the rigours of the open sea when she joins a crew for one leg of a transatlantic journey that begins on the Thames near her school.

Sixth form student Drusilla Barnes, 16, won the chance to take part in Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta in an essay-writing competition.

The John Roan School student is being sponsored by the Port of London Authority (PLA) and will be at sea for the 14-day voyage on board one of the Tall Ships, destined for Sines in Portugal. Her duties will include rigging the sails, navigating and steering at the helm.

Drusilla said: “When I finish studying, I want to work abroad and travel to different countries and I thought this might be a great way to get started.”

The race, organised by Sail Training International , will see Drusilla, and 50 other sponsored trainees from Greenwich depart the Port of London in the grand Parade of Sail that marks the end of the Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Festival from April 13.

Student Drusilla Barnes and duty port controller Simon Malins

Drusilla got a taste of marine life during a visit to PLA headquarters in Gravesend to meet the team and learn about their work.

She said: “Simon Malins, one of the duty port controllers told me that he would be helping all the tall ships travel up and down the river during the Tall Ship Regatta. He said he would call me on the VHF radio to check up on me as I passed by, on my way to Portugal.”

With 95% of UK imports arriving by sea, the PLA is encouraging young people from all backgrounds to consider a career in maritime and ports.

Greenwich councillor Denise Scott-McDonald said: “We are really proud of Drusilla and all of the other young Sail Trainees from the borough for having the courage to follow their dreams and explore new horizons.”

The Greenwich Tall Ships Festival takes place between April 13 and 16.

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