Long live Royalist
Long live Royalist
One lucky cadet has won a piece of Sea Cadets history
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Thousands of cadets had unforgettable, life-changing adventures on the former flagship TS Royalist, before she was decommissioned last year. To honour the previous ship and celebrate the new one, we launched a competition asking cadets, past and present, to write about their experiences on board.

The prize for the best story is the original flag board from the ship – so the winner gets to keep a piece of Sea Cadets history that has sailed thousands of miles around the UK and Europe.

The winning entry is by Able Cadet Owen, who has been on several unforgettable voyages on Royalist. Owen, 16, told Current what inspired him to write about his voyages on Royalist and where he’s going to hang his new flag board…

An extract from Owen's winning entry. Read the rest of the story here >>

How long have you been a cadet and what’s your favourite thing about it? 
I've been at Sea Cadets for just over five years. The best thing about cadets is definitely going away on courses – especially offshore. 

What inspired you to write this story about Royalist?
I've always loved writing, and English is my favourite subject at school. For the most part, I wanted to write this story to convince other cadets to spend time away on Royalist – it truly is an outstanding trip, wherever you travel with her, and it's absolutely the pinnacle of the Sea Cadets experience. I also wanted to write it as an ode to the outgoing Royalist for all the memories she's given me. 

Have you done any writing at sea?
I like to keep a diary to remember important things in my life, though sadly when on board Royalist we are kept so busy that there is rarely enough time to write! I always write about my experiences after I get home.

What is your favourite book?
George Orwell's 1984 – it's a true classic and a fantastic cautionary tale about the dangers of dictatorship, surveillance and privacy-invasion, things that are still relevant today, nearly 70 years on.

Owen (right) with fellow cadets on board TS Royalist

How do you think cadets benefit from offshore voyages?
The benefits to an offshore trip are countless. First of all, there are the memories that we'll treasure forever. There are new friends to meet, lots of whom I still keep in contact with. You gain invaluable experience – especially useful when applying for jobs. Teamwork, leadership and problem-solving are all examples I can draw from just one week on board, which employers go crazy for!

What do you want to do in the future?
Sea Cadets has inspired me to pursue a career in the Armed Forces, specifically the Royal Navy, where I'll be following in the footsteps of lots of past family members.

How does it feel to have won a piece of TS Royalist?
I'm delighted to have won such an interesting piece of Sea Cadet history, and I will treasure it forever! I'd like to display the board at my unit so that the other cadets can enjoy the 40 years of history that it holds.

Owen at his unit with his prize, and PO Justin Coulson, his CO

The competition was judged by Captain Sea Cadets, Captain Philip Russell RN, who said of the winning entry: “We loved how the story gives the reader a real insight into the trip, and the writer’s philosophy about it being the journey, not the destination!”

The Captain also selected the ‘Highly Commended’ and ‘Commended’ entries.

Read the Highly Commended entry by Caitlin here, and the Commended entry by Ffion here.

The former flagship in full sail