Forty-two young people from all over Shetland will taste life on the ocean wave this summer after they were selected for placements on seven vessels during The Tall Ships Races.
Sail Training Shetland received a strong number of applicants for the places available. The lucky candidates will experience life as crew members, undertaking tasks such as watch-keeping, setting sails and other domestic duties with the other trainees onboard one of the 53 ships that will visit Lerwick from all over the world.
Sail Training Shetland chairman Peter Malcolmson said: “We’re delighted to be able to offer over 40 young people the opportunity to participate in this spectacular experience. It will be a fantastic event giving our trainees a completely unique insight into working closely within a team environment and I’m sure they’ll be fantastic ambassadors for Shetland. With 22 local trainees placed on our own Tall Ship, the Swan, we wish them all well for a fantastic race series.
Tall Ships project manager Fiona Dally said: “The response from young folk from all over Shetland has been phenomenal and selecting the trainees has been a very difficult task for the Sail Training Shetland committee. However, we think all of the trainees chosen demonstrated a real enthusiasm and commitment to being part of an international crew as well as an appetite for a real challenge.”
Each trainee, aged between 15 and 25, will work closely with the crew of their allocated ship, taking part in one of the race legs, sailing from Waterford in Ireland to Greenock, the Cruise in Company leg between Greenock and Lerwick, race two from Lerwick to Stavanger, or the final race from Stavanger to Halmstad.
Trainees needed no previous sailing experience to take part and their time on board will be spent being shown the basics of seamanship, working together as a team, and they will experience international exchange of cultures and language and meet lots of new people.
Bethany Scott, 20, from Unst, will join Norway’s Christian Radich – a three-masted full rigged ship, which was the overall winner in her class of The Tall Ships Races in 2010 – for the Waterford to Greenock leg.
Solbjorn Einarsson, 23, from Walls, and Adam Johnson, 19 from Unst, will join the Europa from the Netherlands for the Waterford to Greenock leg.
Symone Duddy, 18, from Sumburgh, will join nine other trainees on the Sorlandet, one of three Norwegian Tall Ships and the oldest full rigged ship in the world. Symone, who took part in the Association of Sail Training Organisations Small Ships’ Race in 2009, is currently a volunteer with Disability Shetland, the Ness Junior Youth Club and the Red Cross.
She said: “Having taken part in the Small Ships’ Race in 2009 on the Swan when we went to Ireland, I’m really excited about being given the opportunity to be a trainee again. My previous experience of that race provided a real insight into the hard work and skills involved in running a ship.
“It really improved my confidence as well as giving me a taste for travelling, sailing and independent living.? It’s an experience I’ll never forget and I can’t wait to get out on a Tall Ship again.”
Twenty-two trainees will have a placement on the Swan, which will take part in each race leg as well as visiting the islands as part of the non-competitive Cruise in Company leg, calling in at their choice of guest harbours en-route to Lerwick, Shetland. Participating ports include Campbeltown, Islay, Oban, Ullapool, Stornoway, Stromness, Kirkwall, Fair Isle, Scalloway, Yell, Unst and Whalsay.
Mr Malcolmson added: “We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all our current grant funders, sponsors and supporters: Lerwick Port Authority, The Rotary Club of Shetland, Shetland Tall Ships 2011 Ltd, Ocean Kinetics, Bells Nautical Trust, Events Shetland, Thompson Bros. Salmon Ltd, Lerwick Community Council, James R Hutton Consulting Ltd, Lerwick Building Centre, Irvine Contractors, MK Leslie, Delting Community Council, Whalsay Boating Club, Whalsay Community Council, R.B.S. Hughson Trust, The Swan Trust, D H Marine (Mergi) Ltd, The Merchant Navy Association of Shetland and Northlink Ferries Ltd for their generous support.”