Campbeltown trainee prepares for his maritime adventure

Hamish Duncan, a fourth year pupil from Lochgilphead High School has been selected to take part in The Tall Ships Races 2011 as a sail trainee onboard Wylde Swan.

While Campbeltown is a guest harbour in the Cruise in Company leg of The Tall Ships Races 2011, presented by Szczecin, organised by Sail Training International, Hamish will not be joining his ship until it reaches Lerwick, competing in the third and fourth leg of The Races.  Hamish will be onboard when the fleet sets sail from Lerwick in Shetland on 24 July on the race leg to Stavanger in Norway.  

 After the traditional four day host port celebrations, the ships will sail on from Stavanger on 31 July en route to Halmstad in Sweden where the 2011 races will culminate. From the Netherlands, Wylde Swan is the world's largest topsail schooner. Joining the crew in Lerwick, Hamish will be able to soak up the festival atmosphere at the host port as well as getting the chance to familiarise himself with the ship before they set sail.

Commenting on his forthcoming voyage, Hamish said: “Sailing as crew on a Tall Ship will be a new experience for me. I am looking forward to learning new skills such as climbing the yards, setting sails and steering the ship. There will be 36 trainees from seven different European countries aboard Wylde Swan which is a great opportunity to meet new people, experience different cultures and work as part of a team.” 

A memorable trip is certainly in store for Hamish, if 2010 Campbeltown sail trainee Alasdair MacPhail’s experience is anything to go by.  Talking about his very positive leg on Wylde Swan last year, Alasdair said: “I’ve met many people and made some great friends. It was the chance of a lifetime, the crew were fantastic at taking you through every aspect of sailing.” Alasdair and Hamish both share a passion for sailing, which prompted them to apply for The Tall Ships Races. 

Hamish said: “I’ve been a member of the Craignish Boat Club for five years now and I also attend Campbeltown’s Sea Cadets which I really enjoy. I’m keen to pursue a career at sea and I plan to study at Glasgow College of Nautical Studies, so taking part in the races is a great chance for me to build on my experience.”

Alasdair’s hopes and expectations during last year’s Races were certainly exceeded.  He said: “Taking part in the races has fuelled my enthusiasm for sailing and increased my determination to join the merchant navy.”

Operations Manager with Argyll and Bute Council, Martin Gorringe, said: “Taking part in The Tall Ships Races is an unforgettable experience for many youngsters.  It provides a great opportunity for them to travel the world, meet new people and form new friendships.  No previous sailing experience is necessary. The Tall Ships Races is all about learning more about yourself discovering hidden talents and growing as a person. “This is an ideal opportunity for anyone aged between 15 and 25 to do something different this summer. This challenging adventure will not only look great on trainees’ CVs but it also gives them the chance to work as part of a team and take them on a journey of self discovery. This once in a life time experience is definitely an opportunity not to be missed.” 

If you are interested in applying please contact Martin Gorringe 01546 604656 or you can email for further information.

This year Campbeltown is a guest port in the Cruise in Company leg of The Tall Ships Races. The Tall Ships fleet will sail at their leisure between Greenock and Lerwick, calling in at participating guest harbours en route. Other optional ports of call are Islay, Oban, Ullapool, Stornoway, Stromness, Kirkwall, Fair Isle, Scalloway, Yell, Unst and Whalsay. Campbeltown is stepping up a gear with their preparations for the event in order to ensure a memorable visit for crews and spectators alike making it a ‘must visit’ destination this summer.