Dozens of keen trainees have signed up for the adventure of a lifetime.
Around 100 young adults officially became sail trainees for The Tall Ships Races Sunderland 2018 on Saturday and chose the ships they will sail on.
It’s a major step towards their dream becoming reality, said Sunderland City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture, Councillor John Kelly. He added: “Sail training uses people’s experiences of being at sea as a wonderful way of learning about themselves and their crewmates.
“By sailing on one of these majestic ships, they will have an almost unique opportunity to discover their own strengths and talents as well as those around them as they learn to appreciate the value of working as a team.”
Saturday’s sign-up, at Sunderland Yacht Club, saw “many young adventurers from across the city and the region taking a major step towards The Tall Ships Races Sunderland 2018 will give many of our young people an adventure of a lifetime.”
But the keen young adventurers were not on their own for their big day. Ship operators, sail trainee sponsor organisations and sail trainee consultants Windseeker from Holland joined Coun Kelly and members of the Tall Ships project team to enjoy a full day of activity and team building. Windseeker’s Monique Touw said: “We want all the youngsters to have the best experience they can, whether it be on a bigger or smaller ship, one on which their own language is spoken or one from another nationality.
By sailing on one of these majestic ships, they will have an almost unique opportunity to discover their own strengths and talents as well as those around themJohn Kelly
“The bursary scheme is closed now, but we still have some self-funded places available and fund-raising kits, so people can raise the funds themselves.”
Liam Malyan is one of the lucky trainees. He was at Saturday’s event with dad Scott.
The fourteen-year-old St Aidan’s pupil has been looking forward to taking part since first heating about the event through school two years ago.
“He was put forward by the school because he is very outdoorsy,” said Scott.
“I am a Scout leader and he’s in the Scouts with me, He has always loved being outside. We went on holiday to Croatia, where we hired a little boat and sailed round the island.
“He was asking ‘Is this what it’s going to be like?’.”
Liam can’t want to get aboard: “It is really exciting,” he said.
“The thing I love about sailing is that you are in the middle of nowhere and have to cope for yourself.”
Nearly 40 ships are now confirmed for the Sunderland event between Wednesday, July 11, and Saturday, July 14.
Among them will be the Hartlepool-based Black Diaomnd and skipper Calvyn Whitehand was among those at Saturday’s event.
“The youngsters are really enthusiastic,” he said.
“It is all about ensuting they get to have that sense of achievment.”
The races are expected to bring 1.5 million people to Wearside and they will get to see up to 80 ships.
The first leg of The Tall Ships Races 2018 sails from Sunderland to Esbjerg in Denmark.
Sail trainees will begin their voyage with a spectacular Parade of Sail along the city’s coastline before spending around four days at sea. Once in Esbjerg the adventure continues with cultural and sporting activities, a crew party and the renowned crew parade where sail trainees from all the vessels come together to celebrate the race and thank their hosts in Denmark.
For further information about The Tall Ships Races Sunderland 2018 go to www.tallshipssunderland.com, follow the team on Twitter @TallShipsSund or Facebook at TallShipsRacesSunderland.