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Marine / Young sailors head off for Tall Ships Races

From left to right: Connor Hughes, Ben Clayton, Kate Friel, Artur Vavilovs, Vaila Wright, Dianne Morrison (crew), Jack Sumner, Eldon Wigram, Maggie Adamson (skipper), Scott Sandison (Mate), Jess Wadley, Izzy Gibson, Fraser Mouat (crew), Magnus Bullough, Michael Robertson (crew). Photo: Sail Training Shetland

TWENTY young adults have been selected to take part in the 2022 Tall Ships Races on board the historic sailing boat the Swan.

Sail Training Shetland said it had been “overwhelmed” by the number of applications.

The first ten trainees left Lerwick on Sunday morning and the training organisation said it will be a “once in a lifetime experience”.

They are taking part in race one, sailing across from Lerwick to start the race in Esbjerg, Denmark.

From there the fleet will race to Harlingen in the Netherlands and take part in host port festivities.

The second group will join the Swan for a Cruise in Company between Harlingen and Antwerp, Belgium, before heading back to the UK in a feeder race to Lowestoft for the Excelsior Trust’s Centenary Smack Race celebrations.

It obviously all comes ahead of Shetland being a host port in the 2023 races.

Photo: Sail Training Shetland

Sail Training Shetland chairman Peter Campbell said: “Since 2009, Sail Training Shetland has provided invaluable sailing experiences to young people.

“As excitement builds ahead of the Tall Ships Races 2023, we are delighted to facilitate more fantastic opportunities this year helped by generous sponsorship and fundraising activities.

“An enthusiastic group of young people are about to set off across the North Sea to participate in the renowned Tall Ships festival celebrating crewman-ship and a sense of adventure.

“We are confident that their time onboard will be very positive and look forward to learning of their sailing stories and race highlights when they return.”

While she has taken part in the Tall Ships Races many times, as trainee, crew and mate, this is the first year Maggie Adamson has skippered the Swan for the event.

She said: “The Tall Ships Races charter is always special, and I am really looking forward to leading the crew for this year’s event.

“To see the trainees come aboard a little unsure, not really knowing anybody or what to expect, and then grow in confidence both in their own ability and gelling as a crew is so rewarding for everyone aboard.

“We are delighted to be working with Sail Training Shetland again this year, to provide these life changing voyages, as well as the taster days earlier in the year. 

“The calibre of applicants was very high, which made it hard to select just 20 trainees but also bodes well for next year, when the races return to Shetland.”