Four members of Sail Training Shetland are heading to Spain for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
Lorrie Robertson, 21, from Burra, Shona Johnson, 24, from Unst, Paul Sansom, 18 from Walls and 18-year-old Shaun Scott from Whiteness boarded the ferry tonight to take part in Race 3 of The Tall Ships Race 2016 from Cadiz, sailing aboard the three-masted bark Statsraad Lehmkuhl.
The group will enjoy a brief stopover in the Portugese host port of Ilhavo before completing a cruise-in company leg to finish at A Coruna, Spain, on 13th August.
The excursion comes after ten other trainees returned from taking part in Nordic Sail, an event gathering a fleet of traditionally rigged vessel in the Skagerrak Skagerrak / Kattegat region, this year visiting Hobro, Denmark; Öckerö, Sweden and Kragerø in Norway onboard the Swan between 27th June and 14th July.
Trainees experience life as crew members, undertaking tasks such as watch-keeping, setting sails and other domestic duties which they will share with other trainees as part of the onboard team.
Sail Training Shetland said training is an adventure activity which includes instruction in all aspects of sailing, but its purpose goes far beyond that.
It uses the experience of being at sea principally as a means to help young people learn about themselves and to discover hidden strengths and talents.
Lorrie Robertson said she was excited about the trip.
“I’m a bit nervous but it should be a good experience,” she said.
“I’m just chucking myself in at the deep end and seeing what happens.”
And with temperatures of 35 degrees expected, she joked she would be in need of tanning oil.
“It’s fine [to be going with others]. I don’t think I could do it if it was just me so it’s fine just to have that support,” Lorrie said.
She added: “I love being at sea and travelling so the challenge of sailing onboard Statsraad Lehmkuhl with a large crew is so exciting.
Some of the highlights will be making new friends, taking part in crew activities in the host ports and sailing out of Cadiz in the Parade of Sail which will be unforgettable.”
Shaun said they had been out on training on the Swan and was keen to try his hand on a larger vessel.
“It was really good; it gave us a little insight into what we’re going to be doing,” he said.
“This is going to be on a much larger scale because it’s a much larger tall ship. I guess you get to see what life is going to be like for days on end.
“This experience is going to be a much bigger experience.”
Peter Campbell, chairman of Sail Training Shetland, said: “We’re thrilled to see the continued interest and demand from young people applying to take part in the sail training experiences that we offer.
We’ve again recruited an excellent group of trainees from throughout Shetland and are sure that they’ll all take something positive away from their experiences and be great ambassadors for Shetland.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all our grant funders, sponsors and supporters; Shetland Tall Ships 2011 Limited, Lerwick Port Authority, The Swan Trust, J. R. Hutton Consulting Ltd, Streamline Shipping Group, Tulloch Developments Ltd, NB Communication, Tay-CAD Ltd and Serco NorthLink Ferries Ltd for their generous support.”