Apply for an Adventure of a Lifetime


On 11 July 2018, a magnificent fleet of up to 80 sailing vessels will arrive at the port of Sunderland, at the North East coast of England, in preparation for The Tall Ships Races 2018. The call has gone out for young people aged between 15 and 25 to help crew the Tall ships.

YOUNG people across the UK can set sail for the high seas on the adventure of a lifetime – by taking part in Europe’s largest, free, family event.

As start host port, Sunderland will hold four days of celebrations before the ships set sail for Esbjerg, Denmark, in the first leg of the race

Tall Ship trainees – who will make up 50 per cent of the crew of each ship – will spend seven nights on-board one of the participating vessels as they undertake the 450 nautical mile journey to Esbjerg.

Along with learning how to work as part of a team in an unpredictable and challenging environment, sail trainees will learn practical nautical skills, such as taking the helm – or steering the ship –  preparing meals in the galley, scrubbing the decks and hoisting the sails.

In Esbjerg, trainees will take part in the festival-like crew parade and prize-giving ceremony before flying back to the UK.

Sunderland Sail Training Ambassador, Brandon Barker, 19, who had his first sailing experience last year on the fully accessible Sail Training Ship, Lord Nelson, said:

“The crew were fantastic and gave everyone the chance to do as much as they could. Every aspect of sailing the ship was made available, from setting the sails and going up the mast to taking watch and steering her.”

Paralympian sailor John Robertson with L-R Ellie Lyall, Caitlin Buddy, Sophie Jordan.

Paralympian sailor John Robertson with L-R Ellie Lyall, Caitlin Buddy, Sophie Jordan.

Wearside-born Para World Sailing Champion, John Robertson, who helped launch the Tall Ships Races Sunderland 2018 Sail Trainee Programme at Sunderland Yacht Club with fellow Paralympian Matt Wylie, said:

“I started sailing at the age of 11 here in Sunderland. I am so pleased this spectacular event is coming to my home city and I urge anyone who can get on-board for the event to give it a go. I’m sure it will give them great memories that will last a lifetime.”

Sail training is open to anyone, regardless of ability and experience and trainees do not need to have any previous sailing experience.

Applicants must be over 15 years old on the date of sailing (14 July 2018). Those younger than 18 years when they apply will need permission from a parent or guardian.

For further information about becoming a Sail Trainee visit or


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