The restored herring drifter Swan as been awarded the National Historic Ships’ flagship award for this year which carries a prize of £1,000.
In reaching their decision the adjudicating panel was impressed by the boat’s “extensive sailing and visiting programme for 2011” and were “particularly impressed with the emphasis on engagement with young people”.
The highlight of this year’s season for the Swan will be her participation in all four legs of the Tall Ships Races from Waterford in Ireland to Halmstad in Sweden, calling at Greenock, Lerwick and Stavanger. During the “Cruise in Company” from Greenock to Shetland, ports in the Hebrides and Orkney will be visited.
Throughout the race series the Swan will be crewed by young people from Shetland. On the leg from Waterford to Greenock three Irish teenagers will join her, while from Greenock to Lerwick four young Orcadians will join their Shetland counterparts.
In the race from Lerwick to Stavanger the Swan will be crewed by youngsters from across Shetland and finally on the leg from Stavanger to Halmstad, four young Swedes will join four Shetland teenagers as crew.
The season begins in Orkney on Monday with a series of short cruises for school pupils and then the Swan returns to Shetland at the end of the month, continuing to work with youngsters from schools.
On 1st June she sets sail for St Kilda on a cruise, that weather permitting, will include some of the other Hebridean outliers. In late June she sails for Waterford and the Tall Ships Races.
Swan Trust chairman Allister Rendall said: “I am delighted that the Swan has won such a prestigious award. It is particularly appropriate in the year when the Tall Ships visits Shetland for the Swan to be selected.
“As the flagship for 2011 of the UK’s National Historic Ships Fleet, the <i>Swan</i> will be seen by approximately two million people in Britain and Europe and be ideally placed to promote the work of National Historic Ships. In addition, in the Tall Ships Races, young Shetlanders will have the opportunity to be ambassadors for the islands.”