Swan Receives Fantastic Reception in Faroe

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2 September 2019

Swan recently returned from a 12 day trip to Faroe where, as always, the crew and passengers were made very welcome by the Faroese. Although Swan is a regular visitor to Faroe, this trip had a special theme, celebrating the strong historical fishing links between the Faroese and the Shetlanders. Local author John Goodlad was on board and he spoke at three events in Faroe about the time when many Shetlanders fished for cod around Faroe from sailing smacks.

Large crowds of Faroese attended the events in Torshavn, Sandoy and Suderoy where John read extracts from his book, The Cod Hunters, about the many Faroese fishermen who used to crew on board the Shetland cod smacks and the many smacks that were eventually sold to Faroe. The Suderoy event was rather special as it took place in the Thomsen sail loft which was where the Shetlanders used to buy cheap brandy and tobacco to smuggle back to Shetland. The audience were enthralled to learn just how huge and well organised the smuggling operation had been.

Such was the interest in the visit and the story, Mr Goodlad was interviewed by a Faroese television crew whilst on board. Local councils in both Torshavn and Suderoy also hosted receptions for Mr Goodlad and the Swan crew, to recognise the close historical ties between Faroe and Shetland, especially at the time of the cod fishery.

Published last year, The Cod Hunters is a fascinating and well written narrative of the many stories from this period and all proceeds from the sale of the book, many copies of which were sold whilst in Faroe, are donated to the Swan Trust. Mr Goodlad explains more: “The Swan is vital to keeping our fishing heritage alive but, as with all old wooden boats, it is expensive to keep her in a seaworthy and operational condition. There were once hundreds of boats like Swan around Shetland, Faroe and Scotland but we now only know of two in existence, and Swan is the only one currently operational as a sailing boat. The Swan Trust is dedicated to keeping our maritime heritage alive through maintaining and operating Shetland’s historic sailing boat but also to utilising her as a community asset which offers sail training and volunteering opportunities for our current and future generations. These opportunities build confidence, friendships and skills as well as promote mental and physical health, and I cannot think of a better cause to donate the proceeds from the sale of my book.”

The Swan Trust is very grateful to Mr Goodlad for his donation, and all the various organisations and individuals who help support their objectives.

Find out more about the History and Restoration of the Swan, including an interview about Swans return to Shetland and new life as a sail trining vessel.

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

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