A DELEGATION from Shetland Tall Ships Ltd recently attended the Sail Training International conference in Las Palmas to present plans for the event in Lerwick next summer.
The two-day conference, which was returning as an in-person event for the first time since 2019, enabled the Shetland delegation to meet event organisers, fellow host ports and ship representatives ahead of the Tall Ships Races returning to Lerwick in July 2023.
The team delivered a presentation updating delegates on the plans for next summer’s four-day event and heard about plans for the other four ports: Hartlepool, Dutch city Den Helder and Norwegian ports Arendal and Fredrikstad.
Shetland Tall Ships Ltd project manager Emma Miller said there were also useful discussion sessions on the additional Cruise in Company route and activities, which Lerwick is delivering in partnership with Fredrikstad next year.
Direct discussions with ships’ captains and agents allowed the Shetland delegation to understand the needs of ships and to encourage them to visit Lerwick and take part in the races.
Following the conference, an additional three ships have formally signed up, taking the total confirmed to visit Lerwick to 21. Details will be added to the Tall Ships Lerwick website [www.tallshipslerwick.com] in the coming days, and further sign-ups are expected in the coming weeks.
In addition to the conference activities, the team also attended the Sail Training International awards ceremony celebrating the ships, ports and other participants in the 2022 races.
For Shetland, the highlight of the evening was the announcement that Swan skipper Maggie Adamson had been awarded the prize of Sail Trainer of the Year.
During the conference the host ports for the 2025 races were announced. The Lerwick team was pleased to congratulate colleagues from Aberdeen who were successful in their bid to bring the event back to the city. The other host ports for 2025 are Kristiansand in Norway and the French ports of Le Havre and Dunkirk.
Emma said: “It was a really interesting and beneficial conference. The chance to have direct dialogue with all the different agencies involved in making the Tall Ships Races come together was fantastic.
“The conversations we could have with ships and other ports just aren’t really possible the same way with online meetings. The wider discussions about the event itself and finding new ways of working were open and honest from all participants and I think everyone came away with a very positive attitude.”