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

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We are inviting applications from young people aged 15-25 from Shetland to take part in sponsored sail training voyages in The Tall Ships Races during July and August this year.

Our mission is to inspire positive change through the adventure, challenge, and experience of sail training. Sail training is an adventure you will remember for the rest of your life. We very much welcome applications from all abilities and backgrounds.

Applicants must be 15 years of age on 1 July 2023, the start of The Tall Ships Races 2023 event series, and currently hold a passport for travel which is valid to at least 10 November 2023. If you do not have a valid passport, we are unable to accept your application. The upper age limit is 25 years at the time of travel.

The application process for Tall Ships placements is in two stages but you only need to submit one application.

STAGE 1 - Taster Day Sails, Shetland onboard Swan.

Thursday 13 – Wednesday 19 April 2023

These trips form part of our selection process for those that will be offered a Tall Ships Races placement and offer just a small taste of a longer passage at sea, enabling you to learn about working a boat, including working sails, watch systems, taking the helm, and basic navigation.

There are no costs involved for taking part and if applications exceed available placements, we reserve the right to select participants for the Taster Day Sails.

Immediately following the Taster Day Sails, Sail Training Shetland will select successful applicants to go onto Stage 2, being offered a Tall Ships Races placement to become trainee crew for each leg offered.

STAGE 2 – The Tall Ships Races

There is huge excitement building for the return of The Tall Ships Races 2023 when the international fleet of Tall Ships and Small Ships will return to Lerwick. The legendary Tall Ships Races offers international fun and friendship, action packed racing and festival experiences.

There are two incredible adventures on offer, the first taking you on a leisurely Cruise in Company from Fredrikstad, Norway, visiting guest harbours along the Norwegian and Scottish coast before arriving at Lerwick. The second is a livelier ocean race between Lerwick and Arendal in Norway. All dates are approximate and inclusive of travel between embarkation and disembarkation ports.

Cruise In Company

Fredrikstad, Norway to Lerwick, Shetland onboard Eendracht, Christian Radich and Swan.

Sunday 16 July to Friday 28 July (12 nights)

Race 3

Lerwick, Shetland | Arendal, Norway onboard Swan. Trainees will embark Lerwick and return to Lerwick onboard Swan.

Friday 28 July to Thursday 10 August (13 nights)


You must read our guidance notes and supporting information before completing your application. We are happy to accept applications that have been scribed on your behalf.



Tall Ships placements are only open to applicants who have taken part in our Taster Day Sails, who meet the qualifying age criteria. Please refer to our other pages for Non-Shetland residents and Over 25yrs or self-funding to find more information if you do not meet the qualifying criteria.

We reserve the right to select successful applicants to be offered a sail training experience in The Tall Ships Races. No previous experience is necessary and we are especially keen to attract trainees who have not sailed with us before, preference will be given to those applicants.

With thanks to our generous sponsors, we are offering the Taster Day Sails and available Tall Ships placements at no cost, however that does mean spaces are limited.

The closing date for online applications is 5pm, Friday 31 March 2023.

Lerwick Port AuthorityJ.R. Hutton ConsultingTall Ships Races LerwickTulloch Developments LtdShetland AquacultureSGP Community FundraisingNorth Yell Development CouncilRSM UK Management LimitedMontrose Port AuthorityScrabster Harbour Trust
Associate Sponsors
The Swan TrustSullom Voe Owners
Shetland Seafarers Association
Grant Funders
Bell's Nautical TrustThe Robertson TrustLocalgiving in partnership with People's Postcode TrustLocalgivingPeople's Postcode TrustThe Rotary Club of ShetlandShetland Community Benefit Fund