Fancy a voyage? How to sign up to be part of Tall Ships Sunderland 2018

Opening of applictions to sign up as a sail trainee for the Tall Ships Races 2018.'British Paralympic sailor and Olympic medal winner, John Robertson with  Sophie Jordan, Caitlyn Buddy and Ellie Lyall
Opening of applictions to sign up as a sail trainee for the Tall Ships Races 2018.'British Paralympic sailor and Olympic medal winner, John Robertson with Sophie Jordan, Caitlyn Buddy and Ellie Lyall

Sign up and have an adventure you will never forget!

That’s the message to budding Wearside sailors as the search has officially started to find people who would love a tall ship voyage next year.

British Paralympic sailor and Olympic medal winner, John Robertson.

British Paralympic sailor and Olympic medal winner, John Robertson.

It’s a lucrative chance for at least 100 trainees - and hopefully lots more - to sign up and spend seven days doing everything from climbing masts to steering the ship. You could be scrubbing the decks, making meals in the galley, or simply watching a spectacular sunrise at sea.

Sunderland Yacht Club was the venue for the official launch of the Sail Trainee Programme where the city offers people the chance to become a sailor as part of Tall Ships Sunderland 2018.

The city’s Tall Ships director Michelle Daurat said: “The Tall Ships Races is an amazing event. The fundamental ethos behind it is about giving young people a life-changing experience by sailing on one of these beautiful vessels.”

But the appeal is not just to would-be sailors. Organisers also want to hear from businesses keen on getting on board as sponsors of the newly recruited sailors.

The Tall Ships Races is an amazing event. The fundamental ethos behind it is about giving young people a life-changing experience by sailing on one of these beautiful vessels

Michelle Daurat

Michelle added: “We would love as many businesses as possible to sponsor a place. Essentially to think about young people that might work within their organisation or sponsoring a local young person to get that experience.”

The Mayor of Sunderland Councillor Doris MacKnight said the event was “generating such excitement” and told of the legacy that a sailing experience could have on the city’s younger generation.

“When they have been on the tall ships, they can tell their own children and grandchildren about the time when the tall ships came to Sunderland.”

The yacht club is also fully behind the initiative and its Commodore David Wheldon said: “Members are very excited about it. It has been on our agenda for 18 months.

A sample of what life could be like for would-be sailors who sign up as a Tall Ships trainee.

A sample of what life could be like for would-be sailors who sign up as a Tall Ships trainee.

“Members want to be a part of it and be involved in it.”

Paralympians John Robertson and Matt Wylie were also at the official launch and it was John - a winner of multiple gold and silver medals in the Disabled World Sailing Championships - who showed what sailing was all about when he took to the water with two of Sunderland’s young sail training ambassadors.

Afterwards, John said: “For me, it is the opportunities you get given in life, quite rare and fleeting.

“For Sunderland, and the ambassadors, it is imperative that they grab that opportunity and Sunderland as a city take that opportunity on board.”

Opening of applictions to sign up as a sail trainee for the Tall Ships Races 2018.'Sunderland Mayor Doris Macknight.

Opening of applictions to sign up as a sail trainee for the Tall Ships Races 2018.'Sunderland Mayor Doris Macknight.

He added: “Sailing makes you a better person and makes you get on in life - how to communicate and how to get on with people.”

John said the tall ships were bringing people back down to the beaches of Sunderland and the youth of Wearside were “leading the charge to bring the sea back into Sunderland.”

Matt sailed on the tall ship Stavros S Niarchos last year and said: “It was great. It gave you a taster of all the different jobs that they do and the different tasks. It is a really different experience.”

Councillor John Kelly, Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture at Sunderland City Council, said: “We have got to have a significant opportunity which plays into young people getting to go forward and getting some experiences out of life, and that is what the whole of the tall ships is about.”

All that’s needed now is for the youth of the region to sign up.

Sail training is open to anyone, regardless of ability and experience and trainees do not need to have any previous sailing experience.

Applicants must be over 15 years old on the date of sailing (which is July 14 next year.)

Anyone who is under 18 years when they apply will need permission from a parent or guardian.

To find out more, visit https://www.tallshipssunderland.com/