Providing annual sail training opportunities to young people aged between 15 and 25 years from all over Shetland.

About Us

Formed in early 2009, Sail Training Shetland is a registered Scottish Charity and is a collaboration between The Swan Trust, Lerwick Port Authority and Shetland Tall Ships Limited. 

This initiative follows on from the success of various sail training schemes since 2006 and builds on the successful placement of trainees during The Tall Ships Races event hosted in Shetland during 2011.

We provide annual sail training opportunities to young people aged between 15 and 25 years from all over Shetland, using our partnerships with tall ship operators to provide sail training on a variety of different ships. Our objectives are:

  • To provide opportunities for the development and education of young people from Shetland and elsewhere (aged 15 to 25 years) inspiring positive change through the adventure, challenge and experience of Sail Training.
  • To provide, in the interests of education, citizenship and community development, sail training opportunities and other leisure time occupation available to young people with a view to improving and advancing their life skills, knowledge and personal development.
  • To promote, establish and operate sail training schemes of a charitable nature for the benefit of the community.
  • To promote education and to provide, or assist in the provision of, facilities and opportunities for outdoor education, recreation or other leisure-time occupation in the interests of social welfare for young people with the main object of increasing their prospects of obtaining paid employment, of improving their conditions of life and helping develop their physical and mental capacities so that they may grow to full maturity as individuals and members of society.

The current Committee Members of Sail Training Shetland are:-

Melanie Henderson, Chair

"I have been with Sail Training Shetland from the beginning in 2009, latterly as secretary since 2011, taking on a very hands-on role in delivering the trainee experiences each year. It was a huge honour for me to step into the Chair in September 2023 after Lerwick’s big year hosting the Tall Ships Races. It is all about being part of the young person's experience, seeing them return with new-found confidence, stories and life skills that they can take into their future which is just incredible."

Victor Sandison, Treasurer

"As a founding member and treasurer of Sail Training Shetland since 2009, and having previously been involved with part-time youth work, it is always so positive to see the visible benefits that our young people take away from participating in the adventures that we arrange. Witnessing the change in our trainees when they return with all their great stories is so rewarding!"

Ailish Goodlad, Secretary

"I joined the committee in 2018, a few years after having taken part in life-changing voyages through Sail Training Shetland. I wanted to contribute to organising these incredible experiences for other young people as a token of my gratitude and passion for sail training. It is the most rewarding journey, especially knowing how much fun the young folk are going to have! I can’t say I don’t occasionally long to join them at sea again, but hearing all about their experiences when they return each year gives me so much more joy!"

Ian Bray, Minute Secretary

"As a former sail trainee (2006 on the majestic Bark Europa), I have personal experience on the immense value and growth such a trip can offer, and it is a pleasure to be able to help facilitate this experience for the younger members of our community."

Peter Campbell

"I first became involved in sailing and Tall Ships races in the early 1990s, leading to participating in the Swan Trust and crewing on Swan LK243, including taking part in Tall Ships Races, Small Ships Races and Nordisk Seilas. When Sail Training Shetland was established in 2009, I was appointed secretary and then became Chair in 2011-2023. Having had a career as a former headteacher and SIC councillor, I am committed to providing opportunities to enable young people to develop their potential through sail training."

Shayne MacLeod

"I became involved with Sail Training Shetland to keep a tradition alive and let the younger generation share in that experience."

Georgia Leask

"As a previous Sail Training Shetland sail trainee, in 2018 I decided to get involved in the committee as I wanted to give the next generation the opportunity to have some of the life-changing experiences that I was fortunate enough to be involved in. Since being a trainee I gained the confidence from my voyages to travel to over 40 countries and had a career at sea."

Amy Sandison

"I joined the Sail Training Shetland Committee as I was a sail trainee myself in 2011 and absolutely loved the experience! I feel very strongly that a sail training experience can be pivotal in a young person’s life and I wanted to be involved in helping that happen!"

Iain Johnson

"I am a former sail trainee through Sail Training Shetland having sailed on the Tall Ship Christian Radich from Kristiansand to Hartlepool back in 2010. I loved the experience and joined the Sail Training Shetland committee not long after. I believe that Sail Training Shetland provides the most unique and worthwhile experiences for young people. The benefits to the sail trainees of these voyages (including myself) can be life-changing."

Sita Goudie

"While I officially joined the committee in 2023, I became involved with Sail Training Shetland several years before this through my work with The Swan Trust. I was inspired by the fantastic feedback from trainees and their parents, and joined the committee to help provide these incredible opportunities for Shetland’s young people."

Amber Johnson

"I was very happy to be accepted to join the Sail Training Shetland committee having had the opportunity to sail on the Swan in the tall ship races 2010. I feel it is important to play my part in inspiring and encouraging future generations of sail trainees, whilst also assisting the wider committee in all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to facilitate and arrange all such opportunities. I have since gone on to pursue a career in the Merchant Navy, however, I feel the sail training experience also provides invaluable opportunities for development of life skills and confidence in general."

Emma Miller

"I joined the committee as part of my role as Strategic Priorities and Community Links Officer with the Swan Trust SCIO – engaging funders, trainees, partner agencies and the community in the ongoing journey of Swan LK243. I was also Project Manager for the Tall Ships Races event in Lerwick in 2023 and can genuinely appreciate the value and benefit of sail training to young people, and the importance of ensuring this is enabled and supported as much as possible."

Lerwick Port AuthorityArven Offshore Wind Farm
Associate Sponsors
The Swan Trust
Grant Funders
Bell's Nautical TrustShetland Community Benefit FundSIC Coastal Communities Fund