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Sail trainees to set off to Scandinavia

Nine isles youngsters will be setting sail on Wednesday on what they hope will be one of the experiences of a lifetime.

They will leave on Shetland’s historic training ship Swan to take part in Nordic Sail, a race between ports in three Scandinavian countries.

The race will begin at Aalborg in Denmark, move across the Kattegat to the small town of Varberg in Sweden, and then head north to finish at Fredrikstad in Norway.

In all it will be a 17-dayvoyage for the Swan, as she is expected to take around five days to reach Aalborg and almost another four to complete the return trip from Fredrikstad to Lerwick.

The trainees are Shaun Ritchie and Theo Irvine from Burra, Brendan Mair from Whalsay, Nathan Reid from Bressay, Ellie Spence and Stuart Tait from Lerwick, Molly Tulloch and Eden Wadley from Tingwall, who are all aged around 16, plus the slightly older Jordan Clark, 22, from Brae.

A 10th member, Dylan Black from Dunrossness, unfortunately had to pull out because of an injury sustained in a football match.

The Swan will be skippered by Sunderland-born Davie Meddes, replacing regular skipper Thorben Reinhardt who is on holiday, while one of the crew members is his partner Gill Bridle, an experienced sailor and artist.

The mate is Alfie Page from Orkney and the other crew members are Michael Robertson (watch leader) and well-known fiddler Maggie Adamson (bosun).

At last night’s briefing meeting it was explained to the trainees what they should expect on the trip.

Sail Training Shetland secretary Melanie Henderson said: “The point of it is to enjoy your experience, and get the most out of it. You will get so much more out of the experience if you put your efforts into it.

“You will learn seamanship skills but the whole point is to get a new life experience.”

2017 Sail Trainees and Crew onboard "Swan"

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