70 Sail Training Shetland trainees enjoy sailing Swan ahead of Tall Ships Races 2023

  • Home
  • News
  • 70 Sail Training Shetland trainees enjoy sailing Swan ahead of Tall Ships Races 2023

25 April 2023

Sail Training Shetland and The Swan Trust recently completed a series of 7 youth sail training taster day sails around Shetland. With a new set of trainees each day, 70 trainees aged 15-25 years took part, and showed they all had the ability to take part in the Tall Ships Races 2023, which will return to Shetland in July.

Taking place from Lerwick, with local skipper Maggie Adamson leading the way, these days acted as glimpses into the incredible adventures which lie ahead for the lucky applicants who will be selected to participate in a longer voyage for The Tall Ship Races. Due to an increased number of placements available, the Sail Training Shetland scheme this year includes placements on Swan and larger Class A vessels such as Statsraad Lehmkuhl, Christian Radich and Eendracht.

The excitement among those onboard Swan ahead of the internationally renowned maritime festival returning to Lerwick was clear to see, with the entire crew across the taster days showing nothing but laughter and camaraderie as they hoisted sails. During their time aboard, the trainees learned how to work as a team to operate the ropes and sails, as well as what it is like to take part in the Tall Ships Races as a trainee aboard a vessel.

Speaking on behalf of the Swan Trust, Vice Chair Tommy Allan, said “With sail training at the heart of the Trust, we always love welcoming youth sail trainees aboard and these seven days have been no exception. The trainees have all been fantastic, engaged and keen to experience more. It must be an extra incentive for them to see that Swan’s crew this year are all previous trainees – something we are very proud of. Since Swan returned to Shetland in the early 1990s, the provision of maritime education, which used to be taught in schools and through local boating clubs, has all but disappeared. A trip on Swan may now be the only sailing experience our young people can access and, judging by the incredible level of applications received and the enthusiasm of those aboard, something our young folk are really keen to do. I wish them all luck in securing a placement for the Tall Ships Races 2023, and encourage those who do not secure a place this year to apply again in the future.”

Sail Training is not just about learning to sail. It is an activity which inspires self-confidence and the recognition of personal responsibility, promotes an acceptance of others, whatever their social or cultural backgrounds, and develops a willingness to take controlled risks. Feedback from previous Sail Training Shetland trainees, and their parents, has been overwhelmingly positive.

Peter Campbell, Chair of Sail Training Shetland said: “Sail Training Shetland and The Swan Trust have offered traineeships to take part in the Tall Ships Races for nearly 25 years, and every year trainees have had the best of experiences. I can remember the last two times Lerwick hosted the races, in 1999 and 2011 – the community events and atmosphere were fantastic and the parade of sail, watching the fleet sail out of Lerwick, was truly memorable. The taster days we have delivered this year show that young folk are keen to take part in a sail training adventure, and even more so when they can participate in this internationally renowned event returning to their own islands. With Lerwick being a host port, we have pushed ourselves to vastly increase the number of Tall Ships Races placements on offer this year, and the level of applications received has still far exceeded the placements available, which demonstrates the demand for these experiences to our various sponsors and funding bodies, and confirms to us as volunteers that all the time and energy we put into funding and organising these placements is worth it. We know from years of running this scheme the huge benefits it can bring to the youths involved, and the wider community”.

With the charity being run entirely by volunteers, huge efforts have gone into the funding, administration and logistics of arranging the opportunities this year. The committee thanks all those who have pledged sponsorship, supported fundraising activities, and awarded grants to make the day sails and longer voyages possible, including the Shetland Community Benefit Fund, SIC Coastal Communities Fund, Bells Nautical Trust and Lerwick Community Council.

If you are interested in supporting Sail Training Shetland, as a sponsor, or volunteer, please contact

While the Swan is chartered for the Tall Ships Race legs, there are spaces available on the delivery leg from Anstruther to Den Helder, which will be arriving as the Tall Ships fleet arrive in Den Helder and in port celebrations begin. Contact us, if you would like to take part in this trip.

If you would like to help support Swan follow these links to donate or volunteer with the Trust.


Want to get involved in maintaining and operating a traditional wooden sailing vessel? There are a number of different ways you can volunteer to safeguard, care for and sail this unique heritage asset.

Learn more

Latest Posts

Trustees of the Swan Trust SCIO are pleased to announce that the Swan LK243 was recently named as the 2023 Sail Training Vessel of the Year by MCA and the Association of Sail Training Organisations (ASTO)

Read More

The Swan Trust SCIO are seeking a qualified Skipper to join the crew of Swan LK243 for an exciting summer season in 2024. Join our experienced Mate and volunteer crew for an adventurous and rewarding summer of sail training and public cruises.

Read More