All Aboard As Young Shetlanders Set Sail With The Tall Ships Races 2011

42 young people selected to take part in fantastic sea voyage

Sail Trainees 42 young people from all over Shetland will taste life on the ocean wave this summer as they take part in the sail training experience with placements on seven Tall Ships during The Tall Ships Races 2011, presented by Szczecin, organised by Sail Training International.

Sail Training Shetland received a strong number of applicants for the 42 places available this year. The lucky candidates will experience life as crew members, undertaking tasks such as watch-keeping, setting sails and other domestic duties with the other trainees onboard one of the 53 ships that will visit Lerwick from all over the world.

Peter Malcolmson, chairman of Sail Training Shetland, said: "We're delighted to be able to offer over 40 young people the opportunity to participate in this spectacular experience. It will be a fantastic event giving our trainees a completely unique insight into working closely within a team environment and I'm sure they'll be fantastic ambassadors for Shetland. With 22 local trainees placed on our own Tall Ship, Swan we wish them all well for a fantastic Race series."

"We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all our current grant funders, sponsors and supporters; Lerwick Port Authority, The Rotary Club of Shetland, Shetland Tall Ships 2011 Ltd, Ocean Kinetics, Bells Nautical Trust, Events Shetland, Thompson Bros. Salmon Ltd, Lerwick Community Council, James R. Hutton Consulting Ltd, Lerwick Building Centre, Irvine Contractors, MK Leslie, Delting Community Council, Whalsay Boating Club, Whalsay Community Council, R.B.S. Hughson Trust, The Swan Trust, D H Marine (Mergi) Ltd, The Merchant Navy Association of Shetland, and Northlink Ferries Ltd for their generous support."

Fiona Dally, project manager of The Tall Ships Races 2011-Lerwick and Sail Training Shetland committee member, said: "The response from young folk from all over Shetland has been phenomenal and selecting the trainees has been a very difficult task for the Sail Training Shetland committee. However, we think all of the trainees chosen demonstrated a real enthusiasm and commitment to being part of an international crew as well as an appetite for a real challenge."

Each trainee, aged between 15 and 25, will work closely with the crew of their allocated ship, taking part in one of the Race legs; sailing from Waterford in Ireland to Greenock, the Cruise in Company leg between Greenock and Lerwick, Race 2 from Lerwick to Stavanger, or the final Race from Stavanger to Halmstad.

Trainees needed no previous sailing experience to take part and their time on board will be spent being shown the basics of seamanship, working together as a team and they will experience international exchange of cultures and language and meet lots of new people.

Bethany Scott, 20 from Unst, will join Norway's Christian Radich - a 3-masted full rigged ship, which was the overall winner in her class of The Tall Ships Races in 2010 - for the Waterford to Greenock leg of the Races. Solbjorn Einarsson, 23 from Walls, and Adam Johnson, 19 from Unst, will join Europa from the Netherlands for the Waterford to Greenock leg. This beautiful ship was originally built in 1911 as an Elbe light ship and was converted to a Tall Ship in 1994.

Symone Duddy, 18 from Sumburgh, will join nine other trainees on Sorlandet, one of three Norwegian Tall Ships and the oldest full rigged ship in the world. Symone, who took part in the Association of Sail Training Organisations Small Ships' Race in 2009, is currently a volunteer with Disability Shetland, the Ness Junior Youth Club and the Red Cross.

Symone said: "Having taken part in the Small Ships' Race in 2009 on Swan when we went to Ireland, I'm really excited about being given the opportunity to be a trainee again. My previous experience of that Race provided a real insight into the hard work and skills involved in running a ship.

"It really improved my confidence as well as giving me a taste for travelling, sailing and independent living. It's an experience I'll never forget and I can't wait to get out on a Tall Ship again."

A lucky 22 trainees will have a placement on Shetland's very own Tall Ship, Swan, which will take part in each race leg as well as visiting the islands as part of the non-competitive Cruise in Company leg, calling in at their choice of guest harbours en-route to Lerwick, Shetland. Participating ports include Campbeltown, Islay, Oban, Ullapool, Stornoway, Stromness, Kirkwall, Fair Isle, Scalloway, Yell, Unst and Whalsay.

The Tall Ships Races 2011, presented by Szczecin, organised by Sail Training International starts in Waterford, Ireland on 30 June, with vessels racing to Scotland, calling at Greenock in Scotland. The ships will then set sail on the non-competitive Cruise in Company leg reaching Lerwick to host the Ships from 21st July for four fun-packed days before the start of Race Two sailing to Stavanger in Norway on Sunday 24th July.