Six young adults from Shetland could have the trip of a lifetime by taking part in selected legs of The Tall Ships’ Races 2006 thanks to a joint project supported by Lerwick Port Authority, Shetland Islands Council and The Swan Trust.
This year’s Tall Ships’ Races celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the event and the race organisers, Sail Training International, hope to bring together crews of young people from all of the host ports and cities visited since 1956. Lerwick was a host port in the 1999 Cutty Sark Tall Ships’ Races and some months ago, Sail Training International extended an invitation for ‘sail trainees’ from Shetland to take part in the 2006 event.
Shetland Islands Council and Lerwick Port Authority have agreed to jointly meet the majority of the costs for six lucky participants, including race entry fees and return travel fares from Shetland to the points of embarkation and disembarkation. Once selected, each trainee will need to make a contribution of £250 towards their costs, as well as any funds that they will need for personal expenses.
Councillor Eddie Knight, the Council’s spokesperson for Culture and Recreation, remarked – “Shetland obviously has a strong association with the sea and a track record of achievement by young people. Sail training can be a very positive experience and I am sure that the trainees selected will benefit greatly from the challenges and excitement that come from being part of the Tall Ships’ Races.”
The process to select the six successful trainees between the ages of 18 and 25 years old will involve two stages. The first will require interested individuals to return a written application form by 16th March 2006, from which a number will be selected to progress to the next stage. This will require them to take part in a weekend event on 8th & 9th April 2006 including a day spent aboard ‘The Swan’ and on outdoor adventure challenges. If necessary, alternative arrangements may be made to accommodate and assess applicants with additional support needs.
Six trainees will then be finally selected to join other trainees and take part in the 2006 Tall Ships’ Races. The placements will be aboard Tall Ships of different nationalities as ‘The Swan’ won’t be taking part this year. Two trainees from Shetland will be placed on each of the three legs of the Race, the onboard part of each trip lasting on average around 14-16 days.
Lerwick Port Authority Chairman, Leonard Groat commented – “This is a wonderful opportunity for young adults from Shetland to take part in one of the world’s greatest maritime adventures. The Port Authority welcomes ships from all over the world to Lerwick and Shetland’s important historical link with the sea is represented in the philosophy of the Tall Ships’ Races.”
The 2006 Tall Ships’ Races will see the participating vessels leave from St. Malo in France on 9th July. Race 1 is from St Malo via Torbay to Lisbon, the second leg is a Cruise in Company from Lisbon to Cadiz and La Coruna and Race 2 is from La Coruna to Antwerp. The races conclude in Antwerp in Belgium on 19th August. The Races entry list already has around 70 vessels entered, including 15 Class ‘A’ Tall Ships. The Race Organisers are confident that the event will attract young people from more than 90 cities in 20 different countries.