HRH The Princess Royal was in Sunderland today to help launch the Sail Training Ambassador programme for the Tall Ships Races in 2018.
The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, visited the National Glass Centre to meet some of those involved in the programme, including 18 apprentices taking part in the race, and watch a demonstration of traditional naval skills from members of the crew from Sunderland’s adopted Royal Navy ship – HMS Ocean – which was granted Freedom of the City in 2004.
With a rich maritime history, which includes being recognised as largest shipbuilder in the world in its recent past, Sunderland has been selected to host the start of the world famous Tall Ships Races in the summer of 2018 (July 11-14), organised by Sail Training International.
The race travels from Sunderland to Esbjerg in Denmark and Stavanger in Norway before finishing in Harlingen in The Netherlands.
Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Barry Curran, said: “I am thrilled that The Princess Royal was able to travel to Sunderland to show her support for this fantastic programme, and honoured to welcome her on behalf of the people of our city.
“The Tall Ships Races 2018 will provide another opportunity for visitors and residents alike to enjoy the city’s riverside and award winning coastline, and I hope everyone will come along to enjoy and support this fantastic international event.
“I’d like to thank everyone involved in bringing the Tall Ships to Sunderland and organising what will be memorable experience for crews and visitors from around the world as we welcome them to the ‘home of shipbuilding’.”
Sail Training is an adventure activity, which includes far more than sailing instruction.
The young participants ( 15 – 25 yrs old ) are required to confront demanding physical and emotional challenges in on-board activities designed to boost their self-confidence and increase their sense of personal responsibility.
It promotes an acceptance of others, whatever their social or cultural backgrounds, and develops a willingness to take controlled risks.
Those who undertake Sail Training on Tall Ships generally find it a positive life-changing experience.
The programme will give nominated representatives from schools and community organisations across the city and region the chance to undergo sail training in the build up to the race event at which they will be given berths on a variety of competing vessels.
Sunderland City Council’s Director of The Tall Ships Project, Ian Flannery, said: “Because of the unique nature of the races, a truly international celebration of everything nautical, they bring hundreds of opportunities in terms of business, tourism, volunteering, sail training, developing new skills and making new friends.
“The programme that we will be launching today is not only the first of its kind, it is a great step towards giving as many young people as possible the chance to do something life-changing that they will talk about for years to come.”
Paul Bishop, Head of the Race Directorate at Sail Training International, added: “Sail Training International’s charitable objectives are to promote international friendship and understanding and we organise these spectacular races to give young people the opportunity to experience a sail training adventure of a lifetime.
“We fully support Sunderland’s initiative to run a Sail Training Ambassador programme, which is an incredible opportunity for young people in the region to take part in the world-class Tall Ships Races.
“I would encourage anyone aged between 15 and 25, with a sense of adventure, to find out more and get involved. You won’t regret it.”