The Tall Ships Races 2011 Cruise in Company is getting underway today with 48 vessels setting sail from Greenock and making – at a leisurely pace – for guest harbours up Scotland’s west coast and onward to Orkney and Shetland.
The majestic ships that have graced Greenock over the last four days will have a choice of Campbeltown, Port Ellen (Islay), Oban, Ullapool, Stornoway, Kirkwall and Stromness, and Fair Isle, Scalloway, Yell, Unst and Whalsay.
Jurgens Hanekon, captain of the Wylde Swan – a Dutch class A sail training vessel and the world’s largest two mast top sail schooner – said: “The Tall Ships will pass through some of the most stunning scenery in Scotland and will create the perfect picture-postcard photo opportunities en route.
“We know that the guest harbours have created their own special welcome for the ships and we very much look forward to a series of much more intimate parties as we head north.”
Paul Bishop, race director of Sail Training International, said: “The captains and crews always look forward to the Cruise in Company leg of The Tall Ships Races, and after such a tactical race, I’m sure they will all appreciate a leisurely sail in addition to experiencing a local community welcome from the various harbours involved. We look forward to meeting the fleet in Lerwick for Race Two which will see them head to Stavanger in Norway in what promises to be an equally exciting challenge!”
Thirteen ships are set to call at or anchor off Fair Isle and it is hoped a further four will confirm. They are: Sirma (class C), Miles to Go (D), Constantia (B), Liv (B), Spaniel (C), St Iv (C), Jens Krogh (B), Sorlandet (A), Rupel (B), Zenobe Gramme (C), Tomidi (C), Ocean Spirit of Moray (C), Prolific (C), Camelot (D), Endorfina (D), Auno (B) and Esprit (C).
The 13 ships it is hoped will call in at Scalloway are: Provident (class B), De Gallant (B), Tecla (B), Urania (D), Esprit (C), Dar Szczecina (C), Endorfina (D), Auno (B), Prolific (B), Gloria (A), Pelican of London (A), Dar Modziezy (A) and Black Diamond of Durham (C).
Yell is expecting or hoping for the arrival of six ships: Lord Nelson (class A), Tecla (B), Swan (B), Ocean Spirit of Moray (C), Jolie Brise (B) and Morning Star of Revelation (B).
Unst will be visited by four, possibly five, ships: Rona II (class C), Swan (B), Endorfina (D), Alba Endeavour (C) and Alba Explorer (C).
Whalsay is anticipating the arrival of seven: Alexander von Humbolt (class A), St Iv (C), Sirma (C), Miles to Go (D), Constantia (B), Liv (B) and Spaniel (C).
Meanwhile 10 more young Shetlanders left on Sunday to take their places in the Cruise in Company leg of the Tall Ships Races following completion of the first race from Waterford to Greenock.
Six trainees of the trainees were recruited and sponsored by Sail Training Shetland, with The Swan Trust providing funding for the other four would-be sailors to take part in the races.
Chairman of Sail Training Shetland Peter Malcolmson said: “We’re delighted to be able to offer these young people the opportunity to participate in the Cruise in Company element of the races. They will have a wonderful experience and make some great new friends on their voyage, and will no doubt be great ambassadors for Shetland.”
Secretary of the Swan Trust Peter Campbell said: “We are delighted to sponsor four Shetland trainees taking part in the Cruise in Company … a fantastic opportunity to sail in Scottish waters and represent Shetland during the voyage to Lerwick.”
The four trainees sponsored by The Swan Trust are Rachel Sansom, 16, from Walls; Tom Henderson, 16, Lerwick; Ryan Leask, 15, South Whiteness; and Heather Gray, 18, Unst. They will join the Sail Training Shetland sponsored trainees Robert Gray, 15, from Unst; Douglas Stevenson, 15, Whalsay; Declan Turner, 15, Brae; and Drew Manson, 15, Brae, on the Swan.
A further two trainees, Michael Thomson, 19, from Unst, and Paul Gaffney, 21, Lerwick, will join the Wylde Swan.
• Over 40 young people from all over Shetland will take part in the sail training experience with placements on seven Tall Ships during The Tall Ships Races 2011, presented by Szczecin, organised by Sail Training International. This is a charity for the development and education of young people, regardless of nationality, culture, religion, gender or social background. Events take place in European waters every year, where the ships either race or cruise in company between ports. For more information visit www.tallshipsraceslerwick.com, which also features a blog from participants.