Young Akaroa sailors' harbour crossing replicates Worsley journey

Akaroa Area School students have once again crossed the harbour in home-made rafts, replicating a journey explorer Frank Worsley once made when he was a young boy.

A group of 17 year 9 and year 10 students constructed their own rafts, paddles and sails and attempted to cross the 4km distance from the Akaroa Boat shed to Tikao Bay.

Students Tai Bristowe, Tilly Davies, Lily Roberston and Mason Rogal were first across in a record time of 2hr and 7min, beating the previous record of 2hr and 10min.

Said Tilly: “It was an event that really brought our team together and gave us memories we will never forget.”

The group sets out across the harbour. ​Photo: Supplied
The group sets out across the harbour. ​Photo: Supplied
The challenge reflects the adventurous feat of Worsley and his brother, Henry.

Worsley was born in Akaroa in 1872. At 10-years-old, he delivered a horse to Wainui with Henry. Instead of walking the long journey back home, the two boys made a raft and paddled back across the harbour.

First to Tikao Bay in a record time of 2hr and 7min were, from left, Tai Bristowe, Tilly Davies,...
First to Tikao Bay in a record time of 2hr and 7min were, from left, Tai Bristowe, Tilly Davies, Lily Roberston and Mason Rogal. Photo: Supplied
Worsley later served as Ernest Shackleton’s captain on the Endurance during the Imperial Trans-Antarctic expedition in 1914. The ship got stuck in ice for 10 months before it sank, but not a single member of the expedition party died.

Worsley sailed one of the party’s lifeboats, the James Caird, 1200km from Elephant Island to South Georgia.

Akaroa school students cross the harbour in homemade rafts as part of the school's yearly Frank...
Akaroa school students cross the harbour in homemade rafts as part of the school's yearly Frank Worsley challenge. Photo: Supplied
Said Social studies teacher Gary Brittenden: “The event really pushes the students physically and emotionally. They know the task will not be easy and that most rafts don’t make it. They have to work as a team and as individuals but there is a great feeling of pride and accomplishment when they do make it."

Brittenden explained, for the past 12 years, Akaroa School students have been attempting to replicate Worsley’s feat. It is now a multi-curricular project involving social science, mathematics, science, technology, PE and health.

Only about one third of the teams complete the journey unaided each year.

“It really is a challenge for the students and a feat to feel proud of when they make it,” Brittenden said.

“This year two teams made it across.”

Lily said: “I enjoyed the team experience . . . we had some great conversations in the middle of the harbour. It took a lot of effort to get across but I felt proud of our achievement.”

the rafts set out from Akaroa to Tikao Bay, a distance of roughly 4km. Photo: Supplied
the rafts set out from Akaroa to Tikao Bay, a distance of roughly 4km. Photo: Supplied

The students set sail across Akaroa Harbour. Photo: Supplied
The students set sail across Akaroa Harbour. Photo: Supplied

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

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