The first race of the 2008 Tall Ships Races ended in Måløy last weekend with five young Shetlanders aboard the first placed Class “A” Tall Ship, Christian Radich.

Ian Adamson, Hannah Mary Goodlad, Josh Sansom, Magnus Stout and Shona Williamson, all aged 18, spent two weeks as ‘sail trainees’ working on the Norwegian fully-rigged ship on what they have described a ‘fantastic adventure’.

After leaving Liverpool on Monday 21st July, fifty vessels set out across the start line, just off the coast of Northern Ireland, on the afternoon of Wednesday 23rd July. With favourable southerly winds, most of the vessels made good progress northwards in the following days, heading through The Minch between the Western Isles and the Scottish Mainland.

By Saturday 26th, the leading ships were already rounding the north of Shetland and heading across the north sea. The Christian Radich was the third vessel into the Norwegian port of Måløy on Monday 28th. When times were corrected, using a complex handicap system, that takes account of vessel size, sail configuration and sail area, Christian Radich emerged as the winning Class “A” Tall Ship, just one hour ahead of the Russian naval training ship Mir.

All the arriving crews were treated to hot sunny weather in the small coastal town of Måløy and enjoyed the Crew Parade on Friday evening, as well as sports and cultural events laid on, including a trip into the surrounding mountains to view a spectacular glacier.

The five Shetland trainees spent the week in Måløy, before heading south to Bergen on Sunday night and returning to Shetland early on Tuesday morning.

Reflecting on the two week trip, Hannah Mary Goodlad, one of the five trainees involved, summed up the teamwork involved – “Taking part in the Tall Ships Races has been a fantastic adventure. It was great to meet so many other trainees and to form such close friendships on board. We were all very proud of our efforts, working together to achieve first place in our class.”

The Shetland trainees’ involvement in this year’s Races was the result of a joint project funded by Lerwick Port Authority; Shetland Islands Council; BP on behalf of the Owners of Sullom Voe Terminal; and the Shetland - Vågsøy Twinning Association. The project was also supported by The Swan Trust and NorthLink Ferries kindly provided sponsorship of ferry travel to Aberdeen.

Lerwick is a Host Port for the 2011 Tall Ships’ Races and it is expected that similar opportunities to promote sail training for young adults will be offered in the coming years, as part of the build up to the 2011 event.

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