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Community / Sailing charity offers taster sessions for young people on board the Swan

Life on board the Swan. Photo: Sail Training Shetland

SAIL Training Shetland is offering free taster sessions on board the Swan to all 13 to 23 year olds in preparation for the Tall Ships Races in 2022 and 2023.

The ‘sail training taster days’ will offer the opportunity for young people to experience a day on the restored sail fishing boat and hear more about the opportunities of taking part in the international sailing events which, in the summer of 2023, will come to Lerwick.

The day sails will take place on 28, 29 and 30 July with a new set of trainees each day. The organisation said it was particularly keen attract trainees who have not sailed with Sail Training Shetland before.

Chairman Peter Campbell said the Covid pandemic had cancelled all of the charity’s activities last year.

“However, with the Tall Ships Races coming back to Lerwick in 2023 we felt it was important to start building momentum for the event, as well as enabling young folk to get out on the water around our own shores following a very difficult year,” he said.

“We will also provide the taster experience free of charge, meaning the trainees do not need to provide any funds toward the trip.”

Absolutely no sailing experience is required to take part, just a willingness to pitch in and work as a team. While sail training includes instruction in all aspects of sailing, its purpose goes far beyond this.

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. It also builds self-confidence, independence, team working, communication skills and friendships, Sail Training Shetland said.

Trustee of The Swan Trust Tommy Allan said: “With the known mental and physical health benefits sail training brings, we were delighted when restrictions relaxed enough to allow trainees to come onboard again.

“What is on offer this year will help build foundations for 2022 and 2023, and we hope to welcome onboard many of those who take part in the taster days for longer journey in years to come.”

Applications are now open for online submissions via Sail Training Shetland’s website www.sailtrainingshetland.com/

The closing date is Friday 9 July.