Anyone with an interest in sailing is invited to get involved in the activities of the restored Fifie fishing boat Swan in the summer season.
The Swan Trust has a busy calendar of events planned, with a host of opportunities for both young and old to experience traditional sailing, both locally and further afield.
The highlight of the season is the Small Ships’ Race from Greenock to Belfast when the Swan, crewed by young Shetlanders, will meet the Tall Ships of the Atlantic Challenge Race. This promises to give Shetland’s young sailors a true taste of participating in a major event.
The Sea Shetland weekends introduced in 2008 will continue this year. These are organised in conjunction with Atlantic Edge Music and John Leask & Son, and involve sailing trips around the islands with Shetland traditional music concerts in interesting locations.
In mid-June the Swan will take part in The Crossing – a Homecoming event celebrating the Caledonian Canal – which will involve a leisurely five-day cruise through the canal with shore-side ceilidhs and other evening entertainment.
The maritime history events in the diary include Wick Harbourfest from 26th to 29th June, celebrating Wick’s historic association with herring fishing. From there the Swan will sail to Portsoy to participate in the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival from 4th to 6th July.
The final engagement for the summer will be the Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival from 5th to 6th September.
The Swan will also be involved in the Johnsmas Foy and Unst Festival, and the regular school and voluntary group trips around both Orkney and Shetland will take place as usual.
The vessel is available for day and evening sailings, private charter and corporate hospitality out with the scheduled diary dates.
A spokesman for the Swan Trust said: “We have an interested and varied programme of events planned for 2009, and are keen to attract people to not only participate in the organised trips, but we also want to encourage those with sailing experience and a little time to spare to volunteer as crew.”