THE SWAN Trust has appointed German yachtsman Thorben Reinhardt as the new skipper of the restored fishing sailboat.
Starting on 1 April, the 41 year old will be leading a busy sailing programme planned for 2016, including a round-Shetland cruise in May and a ten day cruise to St Kilda in June.
Reinhardt said he was looking forward to spending the summer at 60 degrees north having spent many years sailing the much warmer waters of the eastern Mediterranean and the Caribbean coast.
"I am ready for a change of climate and getting to know Shetland and its communities," he said.
"As a traditional boat enthusiast I look forward to spending as much time on the water as possible and feel privileged to have been offered this opportunity to contribute to keeping this part of Shetland's maritime history alive."
A keen outdoor sports enthusiast, he has been involved in working with young people on outdoor team building events and summer camps in Switzerland. Most recently he worked as a skipper in the Lesser Antilles for a company offering sailing and diving experiences to American teenagers.
Swan Trust chairman Peter Campbell said the trust was looking forward to a busy year worth some new routes in the programme.
A key feature of the season will be the Swan's participation in Nordisk Seilas in early July.
Crewed by Sail Training Shetland trainees, the historic vessel will take part in a series of races with other traditional vessels commencing in Hobro, Denmark, then racing to Öckerö, Sweden and finishing in Kragerø, Norway.
The trust also plans taking part in the Tall Ships North Sea Regatta from Blyth, Northumberland to Gothenburg, in Sweden.
Campbell said: "Our programme also includes leisurely round-Shetland cruises, fishing trips and outer isles exploration trips. We are hoping to attract some local sponsors to some of these trips to add a unique twist."
The Swan Trust has been informed by Shetland Charitable Trust that it will lose its annual funding package by 2020, and will have to development an alternative funding model over the next four years.
More information at: http://www.swantrust.com