Sail trainees in Orkney are getting set for a summer time adventure

Eighteen young adults from Orkney are ready to embark upon the adventure of a lifetime after being selected to take part in The Tall Ships Races 2011 which will take place between 30 June and 8 August.

Orkney sunsetThe Tall Ships Races, presented by Szczecin, organised by Sail Training International, take place in European waters every summer where ships either race or cruise in company between ports. 

The non-competitive Cruise in Company leg of this year’s races will take place between Greenock and Lerwick. Participating vessels will be welcomed into a variety of guest harbours as they sail north including Campbeltown, Islay, Oban, Ullapool, Stornoway, Stromness, Kirkwall, Fair Isle, Scalloway, Yell, Unst and/or Whalsay.

As one of the guest harbours, Orkney has been actively seeking trainees to take part in The Tall Ships Races and enjoy the opportunity to sail in home waters. The Orkney sail trainee selection process is being conducted by Orkney Islands Council’s Marine Services and involves submitting written applications followed up by informal interviews.  

Business development manager at Orkney Islands Council, Michael Morrison, said: “We are delighted that we can offer this fantastic opportunity to our young people. We have selected a great bunch of young sail trainees who will definitely make the most of this experience.

“Applicants who had expressed an interest in the project last year got the chance to board the Class A Tall Ship, Statsraad Lehmkuhl, in Autumn 2010. This was a great way of getting a first hand glimpse of life on a tall ship, which was enough to whet their appetites for the 2011 races!”

Sail trainee, Craig Horton, said: “I saw the advertisement in the paper and I knew that this was an opportunity not to be missed. I also knew if I didn’t apply I’d regret it so I had to give it a go!”

Sail trainee Morna Brown sailed onboard the Ocean Youth Trust Scotland Vessel the Alba Explorer last summer. She said: “I learnt so much about sailing and made some great friends which I still keep in touch with. I enjoyed this trip so much that I just couldn’t pass up the chance to take part again.

“When we sailed on board the Alba Explorer it wasn’t a race leg so I’m really hoping that I will have the opportunity to experience a competitive leg this year, so that I can see how fast we can get the ship to go!”

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Orkney are recruiting a further 20 trainees so if you are aged between 15 and 25 and would like the chance to take part in this sailing adventure it’s not too late to become involved, please contact Michael Morrison on michael.morrison@orkney.gov.uk for full details on how to apply.

With both Stromness and Kirkwall being guest harbours in the Cruise in Company leg, a host of events have been planned to welcome the ships.  One which is already proving particularly popular is a Sailing Challenge between the two ports on 16 July.  This is a great opportunity for both local people and visitors to experience a sail of around six hours (depending on sailing conditions) on either a Class A or B ship with music and a buffet to enjoy.  More tickets will be on sale for this event in early spring however due to high demand there’s a waiting list, email savemeaticket@orkney.gov.uk to make sure you don’t miss out.