AT Monday night's Upper Hunter Shire Council meeting, the participants of the 2019 Young Endeavour voyage, which set sail in April this year, gave a great presentation on their experience.
Hannah White, Emily Saunders, Lara Dawson, Georgia Hinde, Patrick Tillemans and Patrick Gilbey spoke about the challenges and the benefits of the program.
Those involved highlighted sea sickness, climbing the 30 metre mast, being away from family and friends and the confined living space as the most confronting aspects.
However with this came the benefits of bonding with others, increased self-confidence and teamwork, the participants said.
"Developing as an individual, courage, leadership, bravery and putting yourself out there were all parts of the learning experience on the boat," Merriwa's Patrick Gilbey said.
Mr Gilbey, who has been a participant on numerous occasions, was chosen as the recipient of the 2019 Young Endeavour award, presented to the sailor who most embodied the spirit of the Young Endeavour.
"For people like us who live two hours inland it was an invaluable experience," he said.
Mr Gilbey added the experience wasn't a recruitment drive for the navy, in contrast, it helped many of the youth on board when deciding on careers in their post-school life.
"Trips ashore and beautiful sunsets were some of the highlights, but it wasn't all smooth sailing," Lara Dawson added.
Lara said the experience challenged everyone aboard particularly the four hour shifts at night and waking up at 4am, changing sails and checking for other ships.
"Our dedicated watch leaders ran team building exercises... and from being strangers we all became a close-knit family," she said.
This year the local Showstoppers Disability Service joined the final day of sailing Newcastle Harbour.
Upper Hunter Shire Mayor Wayne Bedggood thanked all of the Young Endeavour sponsors who made the experience possible.