HRH The Princess Royal paid a visit to Sunderland on Monday 9 May 2016. Her Royal Highness attended the launch of the Sail Training Ambassador programme at the National Glass Centre. The programme aims to encourage young people to take part in the prestigious Tall Ships Races in 2018.
Sunderland (once the largest shipbuilding town in the world) has been selected to host the start of the world famous Tall Ships Races in the summer of 2018. (July 11-14). The race travels from Sunderland, to Esbjerg in Denmark, Stavanger in Norway, finishing in Harlingen in The Netherlands and is organised by Sail Training International.
Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Barry Curran, said: “I am thrilled that The Princess Royal will travel to Sunderland to show her support for this fantastic programme. The Tall Ships Races will give everyone from near and far the opportunity to enjoy the city’s riverside and award winning coastline as well as experiencing our well-deserved reputation for a friendly welcome.
“I encourage everyone to take advantage of the opportunities the event is bringing. All of the partners involved in delivering the event aim to make it a truly memorable experience for all the 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. Participants are required to confront demanding challenges, both physical and emotional. It is an activity that inspires self-confidence and 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 on Monday 9 May 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.”