The Masthead

October 2015


Sail on Board a Tall Ship in 2016

 Sail on Board

The races might be over for 2015 - but don't worry - ship entries are flooding in for 2016 and if you're missing the sea already, or want to take part in your first adventure of a lifetime, visit our web page Sail on Board to find out how.

Black Sea vesselsFrydChopBelfast-11Selfie2

In this edition of The Masthead we bring you a round up this year's events with links to photo galleries from each of the port events. And we meet some of the trainees who had a great time taking part in this year's races. 

Aalesund1crew paradeShtandart Friendship TrophySelfie3

We're taking bookings for the International Sail Training and Tall Ships Conference 2016 Quebec, Canada Friday 29 and Saturday 30 January. This is a unique opportunity for anyone passionate about sail training and our Tall Ships Races and Regattas.  Of particular interest to host ports, vessel operator and sail trainers it will include a packed range of seminar sessions and networking opportunities plus lunch, refreshments and a spectacular gala dinner.

Trainee SelfieMIke BaarenKlaipeda traineesSelfie1

We also introduce you to some special people in the sail training world - Mike the sail maker; Emily the courageous sailor and trainees from the Baltic Regatta and Tall Ships Races 2015.

And for more year round Sail Training news you should like our Facebook page and join our active public group to share your photos and videos so we can all enjoy sail training anywhere and everyday!

Fair winds ;-)


Meet ... Emily Rowe, sailor and adventurer

After awaking from a two-week coma, avid sailor Emily Rowe (32) found she was unable to speak and needed intense physiotherapy.

We often talk about the spirit of adventure at Sail Training International - but what does it really mean? For Emily, it seems that adventure comes from wanting to do great things.  The Masthead spoke to her about her life, the illness that gave her tough challenges to overcome and the voyage she went on to re-ignite her love for sailing.

Young-EmilyGrowing up in Romsey, Hampshire, Emily went on her first sailing voyage when she was 16 after being awarded a week long trip in a competition at her school.  “I first sailed on Tall Ships thanks to my 6th form college - Peter Symonds.  We sailed in the Baltic in 2001.  After that I went back to do the Tall Ships Races a few times in the following years on Ocean Scout, Offshore Scout, Discovery and the Dutch barque Europa.”

As well as her adventures on the high seas, Emily took part in other activities that were piqueing her taste for exploration.  “I played in a lot of orchestras when I was a child, I played the violin. We went on tour quite a bit.  So I went around Germany, Austria and Hungary when I was 12 and I did a month tour of South Africa when I was 14.”  As well as all of this, Emily achieved gold in the Duke of Edinburgh award, which involves camping, hiking and other outdoor activities.  She went on to be an instructor for Duke of Edinburgh and undertook summer Mountain Leader training.

As she grew up, Emily saw adventure as second nature and undertook a globe-trotting career of philanthropy.  But her career took her places that put a stop to her sailing.  “Sailing is something I love but hasn't been a priority.  I've worked in so many landlocked, poor and 'in violent' conflict countries I had to sacrifice it really for 10 years.”

Her job was fulfilling enough to make up for it.  “I did my undergrad degree in Disaster Management and a masters in Statebuilding and Development.  The work I did was mostly with NGOs (non-government organisations) including Cord, Tearfund and Medair."   Working with these organisations allowed Emily to work on projects that built communities, offering help and support to very poor areas.


Then disaster struck in South Sudan.

“I just remember things being fine, not feeling ill when I was in South Sudan. Just going about my work normally.  I don't remember feeling ill but I do remember parking outside the (expat) health centre.  After that I only know what happened from what others have told me.

“I had a malaria test which came back negative.  I'm told I went home (I don't remember) and became more ill.  I was taken back to the health centre and they retested and found that I was positive for malaria.  I quickly deteriorated. I was put into an induced coma and medi-vacced (flown on a small private plane) to Kenya.  I was in an induced coma for a week and in a non-induced coma for another week.

Emily-in-hospital“I was in intensive care in Kenya for a couple weeks.  My Dad came out with a friend of mine who was sent and paid for by my church.  I have no memory of seeing my Dad in Kenya.  I don't remember being in intensive care or waking up from the coma.  The malaria had damaged some neurons and pathways in my brain affecting my short term memory.

“I often forget things like appointments, whether or not I've replied to an email or whether someone has responded to me.  Some of my long term memory is still good though, like I can remember friends' phone numbers from 17 years ago!”


Despite this extremely difficult time in her life, Emily has taken an incredibly positive view of events.

“I have no complaints.  In fact the opposite.  Although it's been, and still is, very hard I'm grateful for it happening.  I'm sorry for the stress it caused my loved ones but for me I can see that lots of good has come out of it.  I was just thinking how wonderful my life has been, God has been so gracious to me.  At the perfect time, I left my comfortable life to live and work very long hours far away in underdeveloped and violent conflict-affected countries.  I'd reached a high level in my field of expertise.  Something would have had to change if I was to get married and start a family.  God made the decision for me, he brought me home, just at the right time. I am so grateful.”

 Making a difference

Emily’s desire for a family won’t change her aims to work towards a better world though.

“I don't believe it's true that one can't have a high level of impact for good in the world and have a family as well.  I want to make a positive impact and help bring love and justice to thousands around the world but I'll do it based in the UK.  I want a 'normal' day to day life, to be a mum in the future and take them to and from school and make dinner etc.  I don't need to be in war zones or countries suffering endemic poverty to make a difference.  My purpose in life hasn't changed but I know now that my identity is not in my job, it's in me, who I am.”


Returning to sailing

Before her illness, Emily had last sailed in 2007.  She decided it was time to take to the seas again with Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST).  Their organisation has two sail training vessels that are equipped to allow people with varying disabilities to crew them.  Not letting her disabilities stop her from doing something she loved, Emily signed up to sail from Bermuda to Southampton on Lord Nelson. 

“I heard about the trip from a friend whose granddad did a voyage.  I'd heard about the JST before - it's a great organisation - but had never thought about doing a voyage.  Before my illness I was usually quite competent at leading and teaching others.  I was fit and strong, and able to help out.  Now I'm weaker and can't speak very well.

"I needed a lot of help, whereas before I'd be the one to help others.  I used to have lots of endurance and was a quick thinker; now I'm a slow thinker and I don't have much endurance.  Thankfully people were very willing to help me but also didn't patronise me which would have been hard.

“I love being at sea. I love being in open spaces and the rougher weather the better."

"I did the same as everyone else on watch.  I did mess duty, sail handling and helming, although I'm not that keen on being at the helm unless I'm doing well; I don't like it when I go off course - I'm a bit of a perfectionist.”

The future

Despite everything that's happened to her, Emily is still committed to working towards a better world for those in the harshest circumstances.  She also lives an extremely active life with gym visits, horse riding and much, much more.

The term spirit of adventure can often seem like a phrase to mean simply having a good time in a far off land.  But for people like Emily it means going through life looking for the best experiences, no matter what happens to you.

Inspiration: Despite all her challenges Emily has stayed very active.  These pictures are all since coming out of her coma!


Meet .... Baltic Tall Ships Regatta trainees

Baltic Tales from Tall Ship Brabander

Ten lucky trainees who sailed in the Baltic Tall Ships Regatta 2015 earlier this year won a national TV contest on Lithuanian LRT television - to race from Klaipeda, Lithuania to Szczecin, Poland on board Tall  Ship Brabander (Lithuania).

Each week contestants had to answer questions about Tall Ships and sailing, out of those that gave the correct answer one person was picked in a lottery.  

Klaipeda trainees

This is the story of one of those winners - Justas Šukštuloio (26 years old), from Zarasai, Lithuania. Occupation: Tour Guide.  

Justas BEFORE sailing …

Have you sailed before?

"This will be my first time sailing in the sea, I’ve only been on a few sailing trips on lakes before this."

Why did you apply? What attracted you to take part?

"My company has a speedboat, water-skis and wake board, so I am interested in the sea and have always been fascinated by  tall ships.  When I saw there was a possibility to actually sail on one I had no doubt it  was something I really wanted to do.  Then  when I found out I’d been picked I told all my friends and wanted it to happen as soon as possible."

How do you feel about the challenge of sailing to Poland?

"It looks a little bit scary and I am afraid of seasickness - but I am prepared for it and will make the most of the experience."

What are you most looking forward to?

"I mostly want to experience a sunrise in the open sea so I have picked the early morning watches, so when the sun rises I will be able to see it."

What are you least looking forward to?

"Nothing really, everything is acceptable as a challenge - I just want to have a full race experience.”

"The Baltic Tall Ships Regatta is a great event. I am feeling a little bit worried, but I think the stress will go as soon as we leave and the race starts; though you never know what will happen at sea.  I know this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’ve heard it can be a life-changing experience, so I am really looking forward to seeing what happens." 

AFTER sailing …

So - what did you think of it?

"The biggest impression the journey has left on me is climbing the mast.  I’ve got off the ship now and sometimes I can still feel like I am up there – right at the top.  It was like standing on light and felt euphoric. 

“Overall the race has left a big impression on me – everything about it was special – from the beginning to the end.  Being awake at 4am in the morning, potato pie and even washing and scrubbing toilets and showers!!

Would I do it again?  “Absolutely.  The professional crew and the Captain were excellent – true  masters and teachers.  When I rung home I told my family it wouldn’t be long until I did this again.   I have certainly learnt that sea people are spiritual people.

Would you recommend this trip to you friends?

“Without hesitation – it was the adventure of a lifetime. "


Places are available to sail on the North Sea Tall Ships Regatta 2016 - visit sailonboard,com for more information.




Meet ... Mike van Baaren, Watch Leader and Bosun's Mate

This is a story about Mike from Wales - a Watch Leader and Bosun’s Mate, who has sailed on Tall Ships Tenacious and Lord Nelson.

“Throughout my life I have had many experiences, discoveries and journeys which have been truly exceptional.  Many of these have stemmed from being a part of the Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST) for the past 15 years. It has been an absolute privilege.  The very ethos of the JST changes the lives of all who sail on her ships, Lord Nelson and Tenacious, for the better.

"I am one of those people whose life, just by sailing as a volunteer, has changed in a positive way."

"I had never heard of the JST, but a chance meeting of one of her members promoting the ships at the Earl’s Court Boat Show many years ago, ended up with me signing up as voyage crew for a week in the Canaries on Lord Nelson.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the week soon went by and I was well and truly inspired by the tenacity and courage of the entire crew.  After this initial trip I received a phone call from the office asking if I would be interested in a trip from the Canaries to Southampton as a Bosun’s Mate.

"In my life I have served in the Royal Navy, worked as a fireman and spent a few good years as a football scout.  I have spent a lot of time with people who have inspired me with their bravery, determination and passion through these roles.  Even though I have met a host of people from all aspects of life, nothing compares with the variety of people you meet as a volunteer with the JST.  Every voyage is so totally different in so many ways, so many different characters each with their own unique stories.

"Over the years I have seen so many people whose lives have changed dramatically. Everyone is treated as an equal no matter their disability.  Some voyage crew on joining the ships for the first time feel a bit timid and lack confidence but on leaving have had an experience which has no equal anywhere else in the world.  I have seen people develop confidence and a deeper sense of pride and I find it difficult to put into words how much witnessing this has touched me.

"So what is my role as a volunteer? I am a Bosun’s Mate which includes rigging, repairing the sails, chipping, painting, varnishing, cleaning and whatever else comes along to help the permanent crew.  Along with all the other volunteers we help to keep the boat ‘ship shape’. 

Mike Sailmaker 3

"It has given me the chance to spend time away from looking at the four square walls of my home.  It has also enabled me to meet and make new friends which I might otherwise not have done, had it not been for that chance meeting so long ago at the Earl’s Court Boat Show.

"It has changed my perception of those not as fortunate as me and, as a result, has changed my life."


Mike Sailmaker 2

Photos ©Andy Scaysbrook


Meet ... some TSR 2015 trainees

Before and after stories

Trainee Selfie

Trainees on the Tall Ships Races have an experience which is so unlike anything else, it can feel impossible to describe.  We spoke to some trainees before they left on their voyages and then caught up with them on the other side to see how the experience had affected them.

Jørgen Skjegstad (18) Sørlandet (Norway)

BEFORE: I have only sailed a small dinghy before, nothing this big.  I wanted the experience, to know what it would be like to sail at sea.  I think it is amazing to be able to say I have sailed on Sørlandet.

I'm excited.  We are going to be at sea for several days, lulled by waves.  I am really looking forward to the open space at sea, and of course I hope I don't get seasick.

I am most looking forward to becoming a member of the crew, working alongside others and putting in an effort.  And of course making it to the top of the mast.  That will be totally crazy!

AFTER: It has been very educational. I have learned a lot about sailing.

The most fun thing is being on top of the mast - unique and scary at the same time.  The mast is about 35 meters.  When we entered the harbour in Aalborg we were standing at the rigging and singing and doing a dance from the latest Lego Movie, and of course it was cool that we won the race.

I was seasick the first day but then it got better.  Not a big deal!

I know I will be annoyed with myself if I don’t go sailing again at some time.  I hope I’ll be on board Sørlandet again someday or on one of the other big ships.  I really want to go sailing again.


Tage Wærdahl (20) Christian Radich (Norway)

BEFORE: I've never sailed before.  I've been on a cruise ship, but that’s not quite the same thing.

My mum put me on to it, to enter a competition for a place, and as I didn't really have any plans for the summer, I decided to give it a go.  I was delighted when I was among the lucky ones chosen to go.

The stretch between Kristiansand and Aalborg is perfect, in my opinion, for a first-time sailor.  I haven't dared watch the weather forecast, but my mum has been pulling my leg, saying it’s going to be awful weather.  But I have got remedies against sea sickness and hope I'll be fine.

I'm really looking forward to the view on open sea.  I have heard many talk about the calm you can experience when surrounded by sea.  I hope to experience that. There is always so much stress and hassle at school, so it would be wonderful to experience some peace and calm.

AFTER: It was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed it.  It was a lot heavier going and tougher than I expected.

The best bits were yesterday (Friday) when we had some wind.  We have had some problem with the speed because there was no wind.

The worst part was also the big waves yesterday because I got a bit seasick, but not too much. It was not too bad getting seasick and fun riding the waves.

I would absolutely go sailing again.  I really liked the ship and the crew.  I would like to go again with the same ship.


Miriam Ibsen (26) Lord Nelson (UK)

BEFORE: I have never sailed before. I thought it sounded exciting and was recommended by my cousin who has sailed before. So when the opportunity came I had to say yes!

I think travelling from Kristiansand to Aalborg is a good distance for a first time voyage.  I know I will enjoy it whatever the length.

AFTER: It has been amazing. I knew it would be hard and it has been harder than I expected but very, very good.

The best bit was been when I was being tugged up at the top of the mast sitting in my wheelchair.  It was also magical to have the nightshift between four and eight AM and to see the sun rise.  There was a special light out on the sea.

The not so nice thing was when I was on the kitchen watch and the dishwasher broke so I had to do the dishes by hand which was a bit difficult in my wheelchair.  And when I had finished the task the dishwasher was fixed and ready again.  And being seasick at the beginning.

I would like to go again, it has been magical.


To take part in a Tall Ships Race or Regatta visit to find out more.




Races and Regattas

Baltic Tall Ships Regatta 2015

Two ports and a 240 nautical mile race

The Baltic Tall Ships Regatta 2015 officially started on Friday 5 June in Klaipeda, Lithuania when a fleet of 21 international vessels moored up alongside the embankments of the River Dane.

Baltic-1This was the third time Klaipeda had hosted a Tall Ships event – previous events were The Tall Ships Races 2009 and The Tall Ships Culture Regatta 2011.  This year the fleet was being welcomed by the rhythm of jazz given by the most famous jazz musicians in the world during the 21st Klaipeda Castle Jazz Festival

Vytautas Grubliauskas, Mayor of Klaipeda said, “Klaipeda was so proud to have been selected as the start port for the Baltic Tall Ships Regatta and we hope we made an impression on all the crew members so they will come back here again.  We are also sure that this unique event will encourage Klaipeda’s citizens to be even prouder of their Baltic port and its deep-rooted marine traditions.  The Tall Ships Regatta is called a life-changing experience – not only for the young trainees raising sails for the first time, but also for Klaipeda."

Over 500 crew members enjoyed Klaipeda’s hospitality over the next few days. While some were recovering from a challenging sail due to strong winds blowing across the Baltic Sea over recent days, others were joining their vessels for the first time – making new friends and preparing for their race to Szczecin, Poland on Monday (8 June).

Robin Snouck-Hurgronje, Race Chairman, Sail Training International said, “We were delighted to bring the Regatta back to Klaipeda.  We had vessels from six different countries including three of the largest class of vessels (Class A) from Poland, Netherlands and Russia – so visitors enjoyed an exciting maritime backdrop to the famous Jazz Festival.  We know the crews enjoyed a wonderful welcome and many were sailing for the first time but found it a positive life-changing adventure.  It is for this reason we run our events – to give people the experience of being at sea as a way to help them learn more about themselves and the value of working as a team.”

Watch the event in Klaipeda here:



The Race

After the fun in Klaipeda the fleet faced a challenging 240 nautical mile race across the Baltic to Szczecin, Poland.

Voyage planning is always a major part of the Captains role in the fleet and the Captains of every vessel attended a briefing to help them plan their strategy. 

The predictions for the race start showed conditions more favourable for the square-rigged vessels.  Mike Bowles, Race Director said, “It was too early to say who the likely leaders would be, but it was interesting to see if some of the fleet would make a tactical decision to head to the north where they would find more favourable winds, or not risk the winds becoming lighter as the day went on."

Dar M

The wind was blowing 15-20 knots at the start of the race, which was enough to give them a flying start – particularly for the Class Cs and Ds. 

First across the start line for the Class A vessels was Dar Mlodziezy (Poland) (pictured left); for Class B it was General Zaruski (Poland); first in Class C was Spaniel (Latvia); and first in Class D was Lietuva (Lithuania).

The race finished at sea on Wednesday 10 June and the first vessel into Szczecin's harbour was Dar Mlodziezy (Poland), closely followed by the whole fleet who were alongside in Szczecin on the Odra Zachodnia by midday Friday 12 June.

The weather in Szczecin was hot – reaching temperatures of 28 degrees celsius and attracted large crowds of visitors.

Piotr Krzystek, Mayor of the City of Szczecin said, “The Regatta was one of the greatest maritime celebrations in this part of Europe and thousands of people came out to admire the wonderful vessels, meet the crews and take part in the many attractions we had prepared for them over the coming days."

The winners

Class D Russian vessel Akela won the Baltic Tall Ships Regatta 2015, which was a great way to celebrate her 30th birthday.  

AkelaNot only was Akela first overall in the race from Klaipeda, Lithuania to Szczecin, Poland (on corrected time) she also won line honours (first over the finish line on the water) and first in her class (on corrected time).  

Akela (pictured right) is a Bermudian sloop, she was launched in St Petersburg in 1985 and is a regular participant and winner of Tall Ships Races and Regattas. The crew of eight (six males and two females) came from Russia, Belarus and Lithuania - the youngest being just eighteen years old. 

Class A ship Shtandart (Russia) was also highly awarded - coming first in her class, winning the award for being the most helpful during the race communications schedule and, most importantly, winning the highly coveted Friendship Trophy for her contribution towards international friendship and understanding throughout the Baltic Tall Ships Regatta (pictured below).

Shtandart Friendship Trophy

For more images check the STI website.  

Class prizes for the Baltic Tall Ships Regatta 2015



3rd in Class D on corrected time




2nd in Class D on corrected time




1st in Class D on corrected time




3rd in Class C on corrected time




2nd in Class C on corrected time




1st  in Class C on corrected time




3rd in Class B on corrected time




2nd  in Class B on corrected time




1st  in Class B on corrected time




2nd  in Class A on corrected time




1st  in Class A on corrected time




Communications prize

For the vessel that in the opinion of the communications officer did the most to help the race communications schedule




Line Honours





1st Overall on Corrected Time




Special awards


Youngest Captain

Sergei Smirnov (26 years old), Russia





Friendship Trophy: awarded to the vessel that, in the opinion of the other captains and crews, has contributed the most towards international friendship and understanding during the Baltic Tall Ships Regatta 2015 - SHTANDART

The Tall Ships Races 2015

Two million visitors ... 8,000 crew ....30 different countries

Belfast crew paradeOver 8,000 crew and trainees, from around 30 different countries, took part in The Tall Ships Races 2015.  They sailed aboard 87 vessels from 20 different countries from as far away as Brazil, Ecuador and Australia.

In total the event welcomed 31 Class A ships - which is one of the largest gathered for a Tall Ships Race, and there was also a higher than normal proportion of military vessels (10).

Over two million spectators came to the four host ports (Belfast, UK; Aalesund, Norway; Kristiansand, Norway; Aalborg, Denmark) to see the event, and national media in every country covered the event - with unprecedented media interest in Belfast.

The unseasonal and changeable weather produced some challenging sailing which many of the captains said was good for the sail training youth development experience for their trainees. 

The four host ports had all held the event at least once before and their collective experience and collaboration helped ensure that overall the race series was a success.  In fact - all four host ports have said they intend to bid for the event again in the near future.

Start port: Belfast, UK


Belfast had previously hosted The Tall Ships Races in 1991 and 2009.  It's a great sail training port and they have once again delivered a terrific event. 

A photo gallery of Belfast images can be seen on the Sail Training International website here.

Race One

With 79% of the available trainee berths across the fleet filled, the 720 nautical mile race from Northern Ireland to north-west Norway around the top of Scotland proved to be a challenge for all who took part with gales, fog and calms.

The race course and weather created some interesting strategic and tactical challenges for the Captains but, although it was long and tough, it produced an excellent environment for sail training and the vessels were well-prepared.

Port two: Aalesund, NORWAY


This beautiful Norwegian port had berthing areas surrounding the small city.  Its vibrant feel and dedication to the ideals of sail training was complemented by a high-level cluster of marine businesses in the area providing good sponsorship.

Aalesund had only hosted the event once before in 2001, but there were many people in the committee who had been involved back then.  Over eighty percent of Captains said the trainee activity programme was voted as excellent.

A photo gallery of Aalesund images can be seen on the Sail Training International website here.


Trainee SelfieFjords, glaciers, mountains and waterfalls were the backdrop to The Tall Ships Races 2015 Cruise-in- Company - one of the most beautiful and dramatic coastlines in the world

Following four days of Norwegian hospitality and festivities in Aalesund, crews enjoyed a 400-mile cruise through the untouched nature and unique fjord cities of western Norway with its white sandy beaches, idyllic harbours and maritime culture.

From Aalesund the fleet entered the Sunnmore fjords with views of the Sunnmore Alps' high peaks.  The longest fljord in Norway, the Sognefjord lies in the heart of Fjord Norway and extends to the foot of the Jotunheimen and Jostedalsbreen National Parks. 

The fleet then sailed into the Hardanger area and the Hardangerfjord, known for both the mountain plateau Hardangervidda and its fantastic blossoming fruit trees. 

On the last leg of the cruise the fleet sailed along the friendly coast of southern Norway (Sorlandet) with its exceptional archipelagos.  

The following harbours welcomed the fleet during the cruise:  Geiranger, Orsta, Maloy, Rosendal, SIrevag, Egersund, Flekkefjord, Farsund and Lindesnes. And despite inclement weather the crews enjoyed an amazing range of activities on the way from mountain hikes and bus, rib and bike excursions to sea kayaking, rafting, and a wide range of sports and music festivals.  It was the perfect opportunity for the international fleet to explore all that Norway has to offer.

Port three: Kristiansand, NORWAY


Kristiansand had previously hosted the race very successfully in 2010 and this year it was a truly international start.  The fleet of 80 vessels in the port represented 19 flag states.  The vessel travelling the furthest to reach the port was Class A Young Endeavour from Australia, who joined the fleet for the first time.  Among other vessels joining the fleet for the first time in this race series were Tarangini from India and Kruzenshtern from Russia, who had sailed from Kaliningrad to take part in this unique event.

Around 3,000 crew from 30 different nationalities took part in this stage of The Tall Ships Races and Kristiansand had prepared some special activities for them all to enjoy. 
Arvid Grundekjon, Mayor of Kristiansand said, “We had designed a unique and exciting programme to help everyone get the most out of what Kristiansand has to offer.  I hope that we will be remembered with pleasure by everyone and that everyone will want to visit us again.”
Trainees enjoyed swimming jetties and a swimming centre, street basket and beach volleyball and a FrydChop
steeplechase.  Sightseeing activities included visits to an historical defence museum and leisure parks. and visitors – in addition to visiting the Tall Ships fleet - were treated to musical concerts of all genres, children’s activities and street entertainers.
A photo gallery of Kristiansand images can be seen on the Sail Training International website here.
Race Two

The second race followed three waypoints within the Skagerrak which provided the fleet with a tactically challenging and exciting 270 mile competition as many vessels remained in sight of each other throughout.

The strong winds at the start soon abated to leave the fleet drifting in calms across the area as a weak area of low pressure spread itself across the Skagerrak. With the local forecasts indicating that there was little prospect of the wind increasing for the next day, the time limit was called forward to ensure that the majority of vessels could reach Aalborg in time without having to retire.  Overall it was a very popular race course with the Captains and popular with trainees as 89% of the available trainee berths across the fleet were filled.

Port Four: Aalborg, DENMARK


Aalborg had successfully hosted the races in 1999, 2004 and 2010 and some of the key players in the Host Port Committee had been involved in all previous events. So, it was no surprise that 2015 was another great success with record visitor numbers.   

The 3,000 crew members who had raced from Kristiansand were treated to a wide range of sports and cultural activities including open air swimming, stand up paddle boarding, a football tournament, street basket, beach volleyball, climbing wall and a sports hall filled with trampolines, airtracks and foam tools.  For the slightly less energetic there were trips to the zoo and many different museums, plus the famous grand finale crew parade, prize giving ceremony and crew party.

Around the harbour visitors were treated to Denmark’s largest, free music festival across six different stages offering music for every taste.  And children particularly enjoyed a Pirate Land themed area featuring three of the more ‘pirate like’ vessels in the fleet – Shtandart (Russia), La Grace (Czech Republic) and Atyla (Netherlands).

A photo gallery of Aalborg images can be seen on the Sail Training International website here.

Watch the TSR15 Host port videos here.




1st overall in the race series  in Class D

Tomidi (Belgium)

1st overall in the race series  in Class C

Black Diamond of Durham (UK)

1st overall in the race series  in Class B

Jolie Brise (UK)

1st overall in the race series  in Class A

Fryderyk Chopin (Poland)


LINE HONOURS (elapsed time)

Tomidi (Belgium)



 Josh Barr, 18 years old

Sailed on Maybe (UK) from Belfast to Aalesund 

Josh suffers from aspergers and autism and was referral by Sail Training Ireland and funded by an Oman bursary.  

This was his first trip away from home – much to the concern of his parents.   But despite an initial barrier he soon made friends with everyone and  made a special effort to talk to every member of the crew who spoke little English .    They described him as compassionate, caring and always there to support his watch members

His crew have told us that he quickly became an invaluable team player who was always positive and enthusiastic and raised the spirits of his watch telling jokes, singing, dancing and entertaining everyone.  

 He was interested in everything to do with the ship and  always volunteering for jobs, which made him a tremendous asset to the ship - who have said the experience has been a significant for him and would welcome him back anytime.



SCF Black Sea Regatta 2016

Open for entries

BS Regatta

Following the success of the spectacular SCF Black Sea Tall Ships Regatta in May 2014, the international Tall Ships fleet is returning to the Black Sea September –  October 2016.

To be sponsored by SCF Sovcomflot - one of the world’s largest shipping companies - the event supports SCF’s social responsibility to support young people in sail training and develop their interest and support for maritime heritage.

Vessels from around the world will sail the 800 nautical mile Regatta starting with a race from Constanta, Romania to Novorossiysk, Russia.  The fleet will then enjoy a Cruise in Company to Sochi, Russia before a final race leg to Varna, Bulgaria.

 Preliminary event and race dates:

Constanta, Romania           Thursday 8 – Sunday 11 September

Race 1

Novorossiysk, Russia         Thursday 22 – Sunday 25 September


Sochi, Russia                       Wednesday 28 September – Sunday 2 October

Race 2

Varna, Bulgaria                    Saturday 8 – Tuesday 11 October 

Varna FireworksThe Black Sea has become a popular tourist attraction thanks to government support from the countries around it.  It boasts a beautiful coastline, maritime traditions and vibrant cities with historic architecture, served by modern infrastructure. The 2014 Regatta attracted 1,360,000 visitors and the 2016 event looks set to follow this success.  



 Sail on Board

People of all abilities can take part in the Regatta, including those with mental and physical disabilities, providing they are over the age of 15.  Trainees may join for one or both of the race legs and all ships entering the Regatta are particularly encouraged to recruit trainees between the ages of 15 and 25.

The event particularly invites young people keen to experience the adventure activity of sail training and those who are up for the challenge of confronting demanding challenges at sea, both physical and emotional. 

Sail Training is an activity that inspires self-confidence and personal responsibility and promotes an acceptance of others, whatever their social or cultural backgrounds. Those who undertake Sail Training on Tall Ships find it a positive life-changing experience.

Keep checking the Sail on Board website for vessels which have entered and have available places.


The SCF Black Sea Tall Ships Regatta in 2014 was part of the sporting legacy of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.  Alexander L. Kurtynin, Vice President/Business Development, Sovcomflot explains, “The Sochi 2014 Winter Games and SCF Black Sea Tall Ships Regatta 2014 rejuvenated the city of Sochi and contributed to the economic, cultural and environmental development of the entire Krasnodar Region.  It left an invaluable legacy and the return of the international SCF Black Sea Tall Ships Regatta fleet will reinforce this.  We are proud to showcase the development of Sochi since the last event and are delighted to welcome the fleet back to our shores.”

Robin Robin Snouck Hurgronje, Black Sea Regatta 2016 Chairman, Sail Training International, said, “This special event was a huge success for all ports in 2014 and gave a unique sail training opportunity to over 1000 trainees.  We are delighted to be returning to the area so soon and urge anyone interested to keep checking our Sail on Board website for opportunities to take part.

“Each port has a unique identity and participants are sure to enjoy a rich cultural experience during their port visits, in addition to challenging and exciting racing during the event.”

The event is the third Tall Ship race events being held in 2016 – following The Tall Ships Races 2016 (7 July - 14 August) and the North Sea Tall Ships Regatta (26 August - 6 September).

 Vessel entries

The Black Sea Tall Ships Regatta 2016, to be sponsored by SCF Sovcomflot is open to any monohull sailing vessel of more than 9.14 metres water line length, which meets STI’s safety requirements. The entry form is available here deadline for entries is 1 June 2016.  Discounted early entry fees aare vailable until 1 December 2015.

For more information visit the event website here.

About Sovcomflot

Sovcomflot Group is Russia's largest shipping company and one of the world's leading energy transporters. 

It is the lead sponsor of the Black Sea Tall Ships Regatta 2016 and was previously sponsor of the SCF Black Sea Tall Ships Regatta 2014 and The Tall Ships Races 2009. 

Its mission is to be the leading international energy shipping company, offering a full range of seaborne energy solutions to its customers, based on advanced shipping technologies and innovations, achieving long-term sustainability of growth and profits through a socially responsible industrial shipping model.  The company’s fleet specialises in hydrocarbon transportation from regions with challenging icy conditions and includes 150 vessels with a combined deadweight of over 12 million tonnes. A third of these vessels have a high ice class.  SCF supports large-scale offshore energy projects in Russia and overseas.  The company is registered in Saint Petersburg and has representative offices in Moscow, Novorossiysk, Murmansk, Vladivostok, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, London, Limassol, Madrid, Singapore and



Sail on board

Around the net

Great videos and knowledge test, fun and education, what more could you ask for?!  Here are just a few of our favourite nautical web discoveries.

Nautical terms quiz

Can you talk the talk of the tall ships? Know your left from your right on the deck of a ship? Put your knowledge to the test with this quiz from BelfastLive. Let us know your score on Facebook!

Swimming on Kruzhenshtern 

 We just had to share this post from Kruzhenshtern. Jumping off a spectacular tall ship and going for a dip in the middle of the ocean is the highlight of a trip for many trainees. Seeing these pictures is making us want to jump on the next ship heading out to sea

Lots of the ships in our fleet allow trainees to go swimming in the middle of the ocean but this is taking things up a notch!

Posted by Sail Training International on Thursday, 28 May 2015

Letters from the sea

TypographyThis nautical typography from Panco Sassano invokes the age old tradition of sailors writing letters to loved ones while away on a ship.

You can see the full post with more detailed images of the print here









Stowing sails at 50 knots wind

Fifty knots of wind is a serious amount of punishment to take while trying to tame a wayward sail. Here's the crew of Georg Stage doing just that - not what you'd call plain sailing weather!
Fifty knots wind sail stowing. Irish Sea 2015. #GeorgStage #tallship #sailing #badweather
Posted by Georg Stage on Friday, 5 June 2015




We ran a competition this year for trainees to send in their selfie images.  We had a great response and the best piccies won tablets and selfie sticks.  You can see the images on Instagram but we'd still like you to tag your Tall Ships Races selfies for us all to see. They're great!

111 feet mast climb on Sorlandet

This next video will give you an idea of what it's like to go up the mast of a class A vessel when you're out at sea. Looks fun right?! Another great video from Norwegian ship Sorlandet.

STI news

Quebec Conference: open for bookings

Make the International Sail Training and Tall Ships Conference 2016 a definite diary date - Friday 29 and Saturday 30 January 2016


You can book your place at the International Sail Training and Tall Ships Conference 2016 here. 

The venue 

Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac is a hotel and conference centre which epitomises luxury and grandeur.  Towering above the City of Quebec and dominating the skyline with breathtaking views across the St Lawrence River, it has become one of the most iconic and photographed hotels in the world.
It is named after the flamboyant French governor Louis de Buade, Count of Frontenac and his coat-of-arms can be seen on the outside wall of the entry arch and many other areas within the hotel and was originally designed as the ideal stopover for railway travellers.  Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac was built by the general manager of Canadian Pacific (CP) Railway William Van Horne in the late 19th century. 
Countless personalities have graced Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac with their presence.  Everyone from the young to the old, music and film stars, sports personalities and political figures, have enjoyed discovering this unique luxury resort and delight in returning again and again.

Who should attend?

The conference is a must-attend event, open to everyone involved in Sail Training for young people and Tall Ships events.

 ·         Vessel operators

·         Sail Training programme providers

·         Ports already contracted or seeking to host a Sail Training International event

·         Representatives of Endorsed Events

·         Anyone with an interest in Sail Training and Tall Ships races and regattas.

Explore Quebec

Quebec City is considered the crown jewel of French Canada and is one of the oldest settlements in North America. The Old Town is a picturesque World Heritage site, filled with 17th and 18th century houses, towered over by the magnificent Château Frontenac.

Packed with museums and cobbled streets that are ripe for exploration, the Old Town has a distinct Old-Europe vibe full of classic bistros and sidewalk cafes. But beyond the walls of the city, the neighbouring towns of Porte St-Louis and Porte St-Jean have plenty to offer too. Also in the surrounding area, the Plains of Abraham is a vast national park with major historic significance.

Quebec City stages fantastic entertainment all through the summer. Musicians, acrobats and period-costumed actors are scattered throughout the streets and festivity fills the air. This is a unique city in a fantastic part of the world and the opportunities for relaxation, adventure and enjoyment here are of the highest quality.

Experience the Winter Carnival 

With an average natural snowfall of over 400cm each year, Quebec is the perfect winter playground.  In fact the white stuff is the guest of honour at all the winter festivals. 

From January 29 to February 14 2016, Quebec hosts one of the world's largest winter carnivals.  Every year, thousands of visitors flock to the Quebec Winter Carnival to enjoy a host of activities for all ages, including snow bath, night parades, snow slides, giant football, snow sculptures, shows, sleigh rides, and skating.  The carnival is a unique winter experience you won't want to miss!



Around the world


Stepping aboard the square-sail full-rigged ship Oliver Hazard Perry, it’s easy to feel you’ve gone back in time.  It’s a new, $12 million project, seven years in the making.  Despite its classic look, it’s packed with state-of-the-art technology. 

Three 100-foot wood masts line the 200-foot-long deck. The rigging is a seven-mile maze of rope, arrayed across the masts and yard arms and through massive wooden pulleys to control 14,000 square feet of custom-made sail.  Shaky rope ladders stretch from the rails to the top of each mast, where crew members climb to unfurl or stow the sails, even in wind and rain and rolling seas.


Transatlantic voyage bursary



Tall ship Picton Castle (Cook Islands) has secured funding from the Nova Scotia Seamanship Education Society, a registered charity that supports marine training opportunities, which will allow them to offer a number of full and partial scholarships on a six-month voyage around the Atlantic that begins 1 October. 

"We’ve been working on this behind the scenes for a couple of years and we’re thrilled that it is finally happening." said Maggie Ostler from Picton Castle. To be considered for the bursary you'll need to meet the following requirements:

  • Between ages 18-35
  • Any nationality
  • Must have demonstrated interest in pursuing or continuing a career in the marine industry
  • Prior experience at sea is an asset but is not an absolute requirement
  • Financial need – this scholarship is designed for those who could not otherwise afford the voyage
  • Must also be accepted through Picton Castle’s trainee application process

A transatlantic voyage offers a fantastic opportunity for growth and development as a sailor.  If you have ambitions as a maritime professional this is an unmissable chance to bolster your CV as well as your sailing know-how. You can take a look at Picton Castle's Facebook page, which gives a great insight in to what life is like on board.



A book for Tall Ship lovers

A book on the voyages of Tall Ship Shabab Oman (Oman) might make a good Christmas present for Tall Ship lovers.

Shabab bookThe voyages of Shabab Oman with Captain Chris and her crew, published by Al Roya Press and Publishing, records the success of  one of the world’s biggest and best wooden tall ships. 

Commander Nigel 'Bernie' Bruen, a former member of the Shabab Oman crew has edited and compiled the memoirs of Capt Chris Biggins, describing in a detailed, but fascinating account, the overseas deployments of Shabab Oman between 1987 and 2009.

Capt Chris died at the age of 58 and used every one of those years to capacity doing a job he loved in a country he called home.

Under the wise leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, Shabab Oman and her crew have served as goodwill ambassadors worldwide for 36 years.

She has trained and encouraged young men to continue and develop the strong maritime history for which Oman is famous.  No other tall ship anywhere in the world has won the prestigious Cutty Sark Trophy, now known as the Friendship Trophy, so many times.  Wherever she sailed and docked, Shabab Oman was welcomed by thousands of well wishers, the crew singing and dancing their way into people’s hearts. 

Omani hospitality sailed with Shabab Oman and the traditional waleema breakfast soon became a firm favourite of those visiting the ship, many even requesting the recipes.

The story begins with the origins of Shabab Oman, which was originally known as Captain Scott.  In common with Oman’s Renaissance, the Captain Scott was begun in 1970 when the Dulverton Trust commissioned the building of the ship, but it was not until 1971 that she was launched.  In 1977 she found her way to Oman and was renamed the Youth of Oman.

Thus began a story of love, of country and the sea, as proud Omani sailors and servicemen travelled the world from Australia to the US and all points in between. These deployments are written in such a way that the reader can feel the motion of the waves and share in the highs and lows of the voyages.  Each chapter is illustrated with photographs from the voyages supplied by the photographic archives of the Royal Navy of Oman.

The biography of Capt Chris shows a man of humility and great strength dedicated to the task in hand, and the development of his crew.

The book is available for sale at all leading bookstores including Amazon


United nations accreditation and research into sail training

United Nations accredits Jubilee Sailing Trust

United nationsThe Jubilee Sailing Trust has recently received the rare honour of being accredited by the United Nations.  There are only 254 accredited charities and NGOs around the world, so they are joining a very select few.  The decision was made by Member States who recognised their efforts towards disability and inclusion, and their support for the UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The story continues on the JST website:
'This accreditation means that we can now host sessions in the UN, participate in panel discussions and spread our message of inclusion to governments around the world.  More importantly, it brings credibility to our work and provides an essential platform for building understanding with foreign governments.  Being in constant contact with these foreign governments can aid us in increasing our international visibility, and in expanding our voyage destinations worldwide.'

For more information visit the Jubilee Sailing Trust website here.

New research into benefits of sail training

ASTO, in partnership with Sail Training International, has commissioned a new piece of research into the effectiveness of Sail Training.  'Giving Evidence', in partnership with the EPPI centre at University College London, they will deliver the project in several stages.  The project outline was produced after consultation with ASTO members and will initially focus on evaluating existing research into outcomes.

ASTO and  STI are very excited about the project.  You can read more about it on this blog, written by Caroline Fiennes, a Director of Giving Evidence which encourages and enables charitable giving based on sound evidence.

Please contact ASTO or Giving Evidence if you know of existing research into Sail Training or would like to contribute to the project. 

ASTO and STI commission exciting new Sail Training research





World's biggest square rigger under construction

Tall ship sailing cruise line Star Clippers has started building a fourth ship to add to its fleet of graceful square-riggers. Though not a sail training ship, she will become the world’s biggest square rigger.

Royal ClipperFor now, the vessel is known simply as New Building No. 4 Star Clippers.  It is the first new-build since the launch of Royal Clipper in July 2000.  The new vessel will be the biggest and most ambitious project to date and will be launched in the second half of 2017, carrying 300 passengers, measuring 8,770 tons and powered by more than 6,350 square meters of sails.                                                                     

The new ship will technically be a five-masted, square-rigged barque.  While the company’s flagship Royal Clipper is modelled on the legendary German sailing ship Preussen, the new member of the fleet will be a near-replica of the even more impressive France II, commissioned in 1911 and the largest square rigger ever built.  Just as the original France II eclipsed the Preussen more than a century ago as the world’s largest square rigger, the Star Clippers newbuild will replace its fleet mate Royal Clipper, as the largest ship of its kind afloat today.

Star Clippers was founded in 1989 by Swedish entrepreneur and classic boat connoisseur, Mikael Krafft, who initially operated two identical four-masted barquentines, Star Flyer, which set sail in 1991 and her twin, Star Clipper, launched in 1992.  At 115.5 m long, with 3.365 m² of sails apiece, and carrying up to 170 passengers and 74 crew, both are modern, high-tech, re-creations of the classic clipper sailing ships that dominated the oceans of the world in the 19th century.  

The vessels were the first sailing clippers to be built since 1910 and heralded a renaissance recalling the golden age of sail. In 2000, Krafft added a third vessel, Royal Clipper, a fully square-rigged vessel with 42 sails.  Royal Clipper holds the Guinness World Record as being the biggest five-masted ship in the world.

The new ship will be delivered in the second half of 2017 and will initially sail the company’s most popular itineraries in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean.  She is expected to begin taking bookings sometime in 2016.

Photo: Royal Clipper



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