A new body has been formed to help young people to learn how to sail, especially on larger vessels of the type that are involved in the Tall Ships’ Races.
Sail Training Shetland is designed to further the development and education of young people between the ages of 15 and 25 through the “adventure, challenge and experience” of sail training.
It is a collaboration between The Swan Trust, Lerwick Port Authority and Shetland Tall Ships 2011 Ltd. The new initiative follows on the successful placement of Shetland trainees onboard Tall Ships in 2006 and 2008.
There will be annual sail training opportunities available, particularly in 2011 when Lerwick is a host port for the Tall Ships’ Races. It is hoped that in the future partnerships will be formed with tall ships operators to provide sail training on different ships. For 2009, eight young adults are being given the chance to participate in the Association of Sail Training Organisations Small Ships’ race from Greenock to Belfast in August. The placement will be onboard Shetland’s own sail training vessel Swan. This race will coincide with the arrival of Tall Ships in Belfast as the final port in the 2009 Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge.
Chairman of Sail Training Shetland Peter Malcolmson said: “I am delighted with the formation of Sail Training Shetland. With The Tall Ships’ Races coming to Shetland in 2011, this has acted as a catalyst to get everyone working together to build a sustainable future for sail training in Shetland. This will be a legacy for young people from the Tall Ships event.”
Mr Malcomson said the organisation would like to thank its sponsors so far – Northlink Ferries, Lerwick Port Authority, Tay-CAD and Lerwick Community Council – for making the inaugural scheme possible. “We also look forward to attracting additional local sponsors to support the aims of Sail Training Shetland in the years ahead.”
Applications for 2009 are now invited from those interested in the eight places sponsored by Sail Training Shetland. A personal contribution is required and the trainees will join the Swan at Kirkwall for the 12-day trip.