Star Cadet Orlando
Orlando (centre) jointly received a trophy for most waterborne qualifications in 2014
Star Cadet Orlando
Avid sailor is helping to send her fellow cadets offshore
By Contributor profile



There are few things that 15-year-old Able Cadet Orlando likes more than going offshore, and she wants as many of her fellow cadets as possible to have the experience as well. Last year she raised £300 towards an offshore voyage for a cadet at her unit who hadn’t been on one before. This year, she wants to help two more cadets to have this opportunity.

We managed to catch her while she was on land long enough to have a chat about the importance of going offshore and why she thinks every cadet should do it.

How did you first get into sailing?
I joined Sea Cadets four years ago and that summer I did my RYA Stage 1, which sparked my enthusiasm for sailing. I've continued working through my levels and I volunteer with the Aberdeenshire Sailing Trust and the Rosehearty Community Sailing Club, after completing my RYA Dinghy Assistant Instructor this year, alongside sailing and competing with cadets. Last year I went on my first Tall Ships Race from Falmouth to Greenwich, on board the huge ship Gulden Leeuw, with Windseeker. That was wicked fun! I did it with a Sultan of Oman bursary, and because of that I’ve been invited as one of 10 young people from around Europe to be the Sultan’s guests in November for a 10-day visit to Oman. We’re going to sail at the Royal Oman Sailing School – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

The Gulden Leeuw, which Orlando sailed on (image courtesy of Windseeker)

What has been your favourite offshore experience so far?
That would have to be TS Royalist’s final voyage; I got to take down the masthead ensign and was a Yardsman for the week. We put up all her sails, and there wasn’t a cadet without tears in their eyes while we brought her home for the final time and got the salute from the Royal Navy, before her decommissioning. It was very emotional and something I will never forget.

Why is it important to go offshore?
Sea Cadet offshore experiences are something every cadet should get the chance to have. It gives them unique star qualities, helpful both within Sea Cadets and in the future. The teamwork, learning, commitment and fun that I have experienced offshore have taken me so far already, in my dreams for the future.

Next year you're planning to sail on the tall ship Atyla – what do you hope to get out of this experience?
I am so excited about joining Atyla and her crew. I shall be a Watch Officer and I am looking forward to learning more about the workings of tall ships whilst helping the trainees to have a positive and enjoyable experience.

Orlando on board TS City Liveryman (image credit: Max Mudie)

Do you have any advice for cadets who haven’t been offshore?
Yes: DO IT! It is a great experience. Once you've been you'll be hooked and will want to keep going again and again. There are bursaries available, so grab the chance to go – you won't regret it!
Do you have plans for the future?
Oh yes – after spending a week on TS Jack Petchey this year, I am hoping to work as an Engineer on the vessel. I would also like to work as Watch Officer or Bosun on TS Royalist, as well as spending some time working on the yachts. Ultimately, I aspire to join the Royal Navy.
If you could go offshore anywhere in the world, where would you go?
That's easy! My dream voyage would be a circumnavigation of the globe on TS Royalist. From seeing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, to penguins at the South Pole, to the Statue of Liberty... how good would that be from one of the yardarms?!

Orlando wants to help as many Sea Cadets go offshore as possible

Orlando was nominated as a Star Cadet by her mum, Vicky, who said:
“Most cadets try raising funds for their own offshore trips, whereas Orlando is doing it wholly for the benefit of other cadets. She is really driven to getting other youngsters out on the water as much as possible. After her first week on Jack Petchey, the engineer and skipper were so impressed with her capabilities and commitment that they want her on board next year as an understudy to the engineer. We are incredibly proud parents!”

Have a look at Orlando's fundraising page to learn more.

Want to go offshore? Talk to your CO or training officer to find out about the bursaries that are available.

Do you know a Star Cadet? Email and tell us about them!