Sail­ing home

For­mer Cor­ner Brook res­i­dent savoured op­por­tu­nity to re­turn aboard a tall ship

The Western Star - - Front Page - BY GARY KEAN THE WEST­ERN STAR [email protected]­ern­star.com Twit­ter: WS_GaryKean

When a friend first sug­gested a teach­ing job aboard a tall ship to Justin Bur­nett, he thought it would be fun gig … for some­one else.

Af­ter con­tem­plat­ing it some more, he de­cided to ap­ply any­way.

That one de­ci­sion led him to, not only land­ing the job, but also the op­por­tu­nity to sail into Cor­ner Brook aboard the ship he taught on.

Bur­nett lives in Tor­bay, but moved to Cor­ner Brook with his fam­ily in 1987 and lived in the city for about 15 years. He was among the crew of the Fair Jeanne, one of five tall ships that docked in Cor­ner Brook this past week­end.

The Cana­dian brig­an­tine is an ed­u­ca­tional sail­ing ves­sel owned by a youth char­ity called By­town Brig­an­tine, which of­fers ad­ven­ture camps for young peo­ple, aged 12-18.

Bur­nett be­came a crew mem­ber July 1 when he boarded the ship in Hamil­ton, Ont., and spent the next three weeks vis­it­ing var­i­ous ports in On­tario and Que­bec.

“This was not the kind of thing I ever imag­ined be­ing able to do,” Bur­nett said af­ter dock­ing in Cor­ner Brook Sat­ur­day. “The at­mos­phere aboard the ship is re­ally good. The young peo­ple give it a lot of en­ergy. The crew is re­ally young too, so there is a real vi­tal­ity to it.”

Although his work ended when the ship stopped in Que­bec City, he was in­vited to stay aboard an ex­tra week to be given a ride back to Cor­ner Brook since the Fair Jeanne was head­ing that way any­way.

“They re­clas­si­fied me from be­ing a crew mem­ber to be­ing a trainee, so I got to see both sides of it,” said Bur­nett.

He climbed high up one of the ship’s two masts to get a bird’s-eye view of their ar­rival into Cor­ner Brook.

Whether crew or trainee, ev­ery­one has to learn about how the 110-foot ship sails and do their share of wash­ing the deck and other daily chores needed for up to 30 peo­ple to live com­fort­ably in such small con­fines.

“The great thing about this pro­gram is, be­cause it’s geared around kids, they can come on with ab­so­lutely no knowl­edge,” he said. “De­spite liv­ing next to the ocean all my life, I have very lit­tle sail­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, but it wasn’t an ob­sta­cle at all.”

Bur­nett’s life as a sailor ended in Cor­ner Brook. He plans to be a land­lub­ber for the rest of the sum­mer be­fore re­turn­ing to Tor­bay as a sub­sti­tute teacher in a more tra­di­tional class­room set­ting.

GARY KEAN/ THE WEST­ERN STAR

Justin Bur­nett, a for­mer Cor­ner Brook res­i­dent, poses for a photo aboard the Fair Jeanne af­ter he spent the last month on the ed­u­ca­tional tall ship as a course teacher and then as a trainee.

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