33 Scottish Trainees are already counting down to The Tall Ships Races 2011

The Tall Ships Races 2011, presented by Szczecin, organised by Sail Training International, is exactly one year away from arriving in Lerwick and, already, 33 trainees from the participating Cruise in Company ports, between Greenock and Lerwick, have signed up to take part.

Sail Trainee at the helm onboard the Swan

The ships can choose to visit Campbeltown; Islay; Oban; Ullapool; Stornoway; Stromness; Kirkwall; Fair Isle; Scalloway; Yell; Unst; and/or Whalsay on the non-competitive Cruise in Company part of the Races between 12 and 21 July 2011.  Organisers from these ports have been busy recruiting trainees to join the ships, which will not only be a great adventure, but also an invaluable experience to discover hidden strengths and talents and learn new skills that these youngsters can draw on for a lifetime.

It is a rule of The Tall Ships Races that 50 per cent of each vessel’s crew must be aged between 15 and 25 years old.  No previous sailing experience is necessary, with many people setting foot on a ship for the very first time.

 The young people of Ullapool have embraced the challenge and already there are 21 signed up to join the vessels on the trip up the west coast of Scotland and north to Shetland. 

 Chief Executive of Ullapool Harbour, Kevin Peach said:  “We have had a fantastic response.  We invited hand-written applications from the hopeful trainees and were extremely impressed by the quality of submissions.There are now 21 trainees signed up (7 boys and 14 girls, all aged between 15 and 18 years) to sail between Greenock and Lerwick.

 “We are delighted that, for the first time, Ullapool can offer such a fantastic opportunity to our young people.  This is the experience of a lifetime for the trainees – more than half of which will never have had the opportunity to board a sailing vessel before.

 “Ullapool Harbour Trust is very pleased to be supporting this initiative as part of its policy to put something back into the community, and will fund 25 per cent of the trainees cost with the remaining funding being raised through various events over the coming months.”

 Young Orcardians are also keen to join the ships with 12 people already signed up for 2011.  Recruitment in Shetland through Sail Training Shetland for 2011 will begin after this year’s Races when 10 trainees will sail on Shetland’s own Tall Ship, the Swan, while four will join the Norwegian full rigged ship, the Christian Radich on the passage between Kristiansand in Norway and Hartlepool.

 Project manager of Shetland Tall Ships 2011 Ltd, Fiona Dally said: “Thanks to grant funding and support from a number of businesses and organisations, Shetland has been supporting trainees to participate in The Tall Ships Races since 2008, in the build up to the main event in 2011. 

 “We are now delighted to be offering the young people of the other participating ports on the Cruise in Company part of The Tall Ships Races to become involved and sail in their own home territory.  The Cruise in Company leg is not a race but a chance for the competitors to relax, call at other ports, meet people and have fun.  We would encourage any other youngsters in any of the participating ports that are interested in taking part in 2011 to get in touch.”

 A host of events are being organised to extend a real welcome to the ships - and the crowds that they are bound to attract - in the Cruise in Company ports.