Swan to maintain historical links between Faroe and Shetland

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14 June 2019

John Goodlad, author of The Cod Hunters, and fellow Swan Trust Trustees handed over a signed copy of his book to each skipper of the five historical Faroese sailing vessels on their trip to Shetland this week.

The boats are visiting the isles as part of celebrations marking the centenary of the Faroese flag, and will be open to the public 13th & 14th June. Two of the visiting boats, Johanna TG 326 and Westward Ho TN 54, are ships known in Shetland as ‘smacks’ – which were imported from the UK from the late 1870s until the 1930s. There were over 130 ‘smacks’ active in their heyday in the Faroe Islands, but today only these two survive.

In his book, John tells the story of the strong links that were forged between Faroe and Shetland. John commented: “Shetlanders used to fish for cod around Faroe, with many Faroese fishermen employed as crew on board the Shetland smacks. Eventually, many of the Shetland smacks were sold to Faroe, and the Faroese freely acknowledge it was the skills their fishermen learned from Shetlanders that allowed them to establish their own fishing industry.”

In August John will sail to Faroe on board Swan to tell the story of Shetland’s cod hunters and the impact they had on Faroe all those years ago. It is hoped that this trip to Shetland and Swan’s trip to Faroe later in the year will help initiate further maritime connections between Shetland and Faroe. John added: “Like Swan, the daily maintenance and running of all the visiting Faroese vessels is taken care of by a dedicated circle of “ship friends” who are interested in the preservation of this cultural heritage. Therefore, there are many similarities and knowledge that could be shared.”

All proceeds from the sale of The Cod Hunters will be donated to the Swan Trust, which is dedicated to keep alive the experience of sailing this historic Shetland vessel.

While the Swan trip to Faroe is fully booked, there is still opportunity to sail Swan along the scenic coasts of Norway, as part of Tall Ships 2019


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.

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