Recently we caught up with Peter Campbell to talk about his past experiences with The Tall Ships Races, sailing on them and as a Liaison Officer. Peter’s first Tall Ships experience goes back 30 years when he was on a course in Bergen. He arrived In Bergen on a Sunday, the first of the Tall Ships started arriving on Monday, and by Wednesday, Peter had signed up for the next two and half weeks, on a French and then a UK boat - an experience he recalls incredibly fondly.
When Peter heard about The Tall Ship's visit to Lerwick in 1999 he was keen to get involved as a Liaison Officer. He was assigned a small Norwegian Ship called the Sandefjord - which had never been to Shetland before. He recalls bonding with the crew so well that he met up with some of them at another Tall Ships event in Måløy.
Ever since the 1999 visit to Lerwick, Peter has consistently been involved with the Tall Ships Races. By sailing on the Swan, being part of the Sail Training Shetland committee, and attending other Tall Ships events - such as the 2008 Måløy Tall Ships in Norway. The success of the 1999 Lerwick Tall Ships helped pave the way for smaller ports like Måløy - as when Lerwick put its bid in to be a host port in 1999, no port as small had ever held the event.
Peter tells me one of the contributing factors to Lerwick’s continual success comes from our supportive and well-informed Liaison Officers. In 2011 he was assigned as a Liaison Officer to another Norwegian ship, the Svanhild and recalls the difficulty of that experience due to the extremist terror attack in Norway that happened during the 2011 event. Peter tells me the crew were grateful for the support they received from Shetlanders.
Peter’s only regret regarding The Tall Ships Races is not starting sooner. When he was 15 his parents offered him the chance to take part in the Tall Ships Races on the Sir Winston Churchill or the Malcolm Miller - which he declined. “I think it would have been life changing if I had. It’s had a big enough impact on me since”
Peter’s advice for first-time Liaison Officers is to be there on time, encourage the crew to take part in all the activities, provide your crew with all the information they need, and if they have questions you can’t answer, find the answer. Peter ends the discussion with an inspiring statement “A reason to support the Tall Ships visit to Lerwick, is that it gives the feeling of belief and confidence in Shetland and gives folk something to look forward to.”