Seven young adults from Shetland are all set for the adventure of a lifetime this summer, having been selected last weekend to take part in The Tall Ships’ Races 2006.

For the first time, Shetland Islands Council and Lerwick Port Authority are jointly sponsoring sail trainees involvement in the event, by meeting the majority of the race entry fees and the travel costs to and from the host ports involved.

The two-day selection event was also supported by The Swan Trust who hosted a day of sailing on board ‘The Swan’ on her first outing of the season on Saturday. Skipper Jane Brander and her crew put the group through their paces at sea, working with the heavy sails of Shetland’s own sail training vessel. Saturday evening saw the group tackle a series of team-building outdoor challenges at Voxter Outdoor Centre, testing their communication, leadership and groupwork skills.

On Sunday morning, the group took to the sea cliffs at Fladdabister, led by outdoor instructors Pete Richardson and Martin Rickard, to face a challenging abseil of around 150 ft (46 metres).

The group returned late afternoon to the Lerwick Port Authority offices to hear the news from Councillor Eddie Knight and the Port Authority’s Deputy Chairman, Brian Anderson that all seven trainees had been successful and would be taking part in this year’s Races.

Brian Anderson commented – “They are a spirited group of young people from across Shetland, who have this weekend proved that they have the sense of adventure and teamwork that will be needed to take part in the Tall Ships’ Races. On behalf of the Port Authority, we wish them the very best of luck this summer. ”

Councillor Eddie Knight added - “The Council is very pleased to be able to support these young people from Shetland to take part in The 2006 Tall Ships’ Races. Shetland has always had a strong association with the sea and I have no doubt that they will be excellent ambassadors for our community.”

This year’s Tall Ships’ Races start at St. Malo in France on 9th July and will visit Torbay, Lisbon, Cadiz and La Coruna before finishing in Antwerp on 19th August. The 2006 Tall Ships’ Races are the 50th Anniversary of the original 1956 event and the race organisers hope this year to attract young crews from all the previous host ports, including Shetland.

The seven ‘sail trainees’ selected are – Duncan Anderson from Walls; Sanna Aitken from Lerwick; Ian Bray from Sandwick; Jon Dowson from Scalloway; Rosalind Nicol from Tingwall; George Thomason from Yell; and Robert Wishart from Sandwick. Each of them will spend up to two weeks aboard one of the vessels taking part in this year’s Races.

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