Sail Training Shetland

Sail Training Shetland is a registered Scottish Charity and is a collaboration between The Swan Trust, Lerwick Port Authority and Shetland Tall Ships 2011 Ltd. The main objective of Sail Training Shetland is to further the development and education of young people between the ages of 15 and 25 through the adventure, challenge and experience of Sail Training.

What is Sail Training?

Sail Training ShetlandSail Training Shetland has launched a dedicated website kindly sponsored by NB Communication, please visit to find out more.

Sail training requires participants to confront many demanding challenges, both physical and emotional. It is an activity that inspires self-confidence and the acceptance of personal responsibility, promotes an acceptance of others whatever their social or cultural backgrounds, and develops a willingness to take controlled risks. For most who undertake sail training on Tall Ships it is a positive life-changing experience.

Sail training is an adventure activity for people of all ages and abilities. It includes instruction in all aspects of sailing but its purpose goes far, far beyond this. Sail training uses the experience of being at sea principally as a means to help people learn about themselves, discover hidden strengths and talents and understand the value of working as a team. In some programmes today it forms the setting for much wider aspects of education at sea.

The Tall Ships Races 2011

The closing date for applications to Sail Training Shetland has now passed.  If you would still like to receive periodic updates on our activities, please sign up to our Mailing List at or send an email to 

How Much Will It Cost? 

There are some costs involved in participating in a sail training scheme.  Lerwick Port Authority and Shetland Islands Council jointly supported a number of sail trainees from Shetland to take part in the 2008, 2009 and 2010 Tall Ships Races. Sponsorship initiatives have been developed to provide opportunities for young people to benefit from the sailing experience during the major event in 2011.  A personal contribution is also required.

How To Get Involved

If you like the idea of experiencing travel from a bygone age, to hear the creak of the rigging and watch huge square rigged sails billowing in the wind, then why not join a Tall Ship as a trainee crew member? If you’ve watched and loved the Onedin Line, Hornblower and Master and Commander then why not get on board and see for yourself what it was like to travel under sail?

Many people experience their first Tall Ship voyage while taking part in The Tall Ships Races, a key rule of which is that 50 percent of each vessel’s crew must be aged between 15 and 25 years old. No experience is necessary to become a trainee crew member - indeed many people taking part have never set foot on a boat of any kind before but once bitten they tend to come back time and time again for another Race.

There are several ways you can find a ship on which to take part in The Tall Ships Races or for any other voyage:

The Tall Ships Races 2010

Sail Training Shetland were pleased to be able to offer fourteen sail training placements to take part in The Tall Ships Races 2010, for young people between the ages of 15 - 25.

Trainees sailed onboard the Swan and Christian Radich during The Tall Ships Races between Kristiansand, Norway and Hartlepool, UK in August. 

Grant funding and sponsorship was received from The People’s Postcode Lottery, Lerwick Building Centre, DH Marine, Ocean Kinetics, Lerwick Port Authority and Shetland Island Council.  Associate sponsors and supporters are Lerwick Community Council, the Merchant Navy Association of Shetland, Ian Manson (Bletty) Memorial Trust and NorthLink Ferries Ltd.


Thank you to our Sponsors

Sail Training Shetland Sponsors

To become a sponsor of Sail Training Shetland please download our sponsorship package details.

ASTO Small Ships Race 2009

Eight lucky young adults from Shetland, between the ages of 15 - 18, took part in the Association of Sail Training Organisations Small Ships' Race between Greenock and Belfast, on board Shetland's own sail training vessel the Swan during August 2009.  More details on their adventure have been posted on, on the Sail Training Shetland Bebo page and on

Sail Training Shetland - Gallery 

Here is a selection of photos of the participants from previous Sail Training Shetland schemes.