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Sail Training Ireland is the national Sail Training organisation and a charity with youth development at its core. 

Manager of Trainee Programme 

Sail Training Ireland (STIRL) is seeking a Manager for their Trainee Programme. This role will suit a dynamic and energetic self-starter who enjoys working as part of a small team in a very varied role. The position will be responsible for delivering STIRL’s annual trainee programme including promoting, recruiting trainees, identifying suitable vessels, reporting, training of trainees and mentors who partake in STIRL’s extensive schedule of voyages. The post also includes responsibility for the promotion of the organisation’s child protection and safeguarding policies and priorities. The successful candidate will be required to work in collaboration with other staff, volunteers, sponsors and the charity’s network of nominating organisations throughout the country.

For further information please check out this link http://sailtrainingireland.com/documents/ManagerTraineeProgrammedetailedjobspec.docx

Closing date for applications is 5.00 p.m. Wednesday May 31st May 2017.

Please apply be sending your C.V. and a covering letter to [email protected] or to Daragh Sheridan at Sail Training Ireland, Dublin Port Centre, Alexandra Road, Dublin 1

Key duties and responsibilities

● Meeting and liaising with nominating organisations to encourage the use of sail training for youth development.
● Facilitating recruitment and sign-up of trainees from different sources, e.g. youth organisations, schools, scouting organisations, Garda Diversion, individuals, etc.
● Implementation of bursary schemes.
● Assisting with vessel programming and voyage logistics.
● Assisting in preparing applications for funding through EU, Government and non-Government sources.
● Compiling reports, as required, for various funding schemes or programmes.
● Compiling information for updating the STI Website, social media, etc.
● Dealing with general enquiries from the public and trainees.
● Monitoring the progress of voyages and dealing with any trainee-related issues arising on those voyages.
● Maintaining all records and compiling reports on completion of voyages.
● Assisting with the organisation of events on a national basis to promote the value of sail training.
● Updating the information available on the trainee database to ensure that they are fully informed of developments, upcoming events, berth availability, etc. and establishing a team of volunteers to assist with or participate in sail training events.
● Compiling and recording all information in relation to fees paid by trainees in order that an accurate record of any monies paid can be maintained.
● Arranging any measures necessary to cover STI’s obligations under Child Protection Legislation.
● Liaising with Sail Training Ireland Youth Council.
● Other duties as may be assigned to you from time to time by the CEO.

Essential criteria
The ideal candidate will have:

● Excellent interpersonal skills.
● The drive to work proactively.
● A degree or equivalent third level qualification in a subject/discipline that can be proven relevant to the post or two to three years’ comparable work experience including proven management experience.
● Ability to manage your own workload.
● Demonstrated experience of planning and scheduling multiple projects, of prioritising tasks and adaptability to changing workloads.
● Demonstrated proficiency in information management and information communication technologies, including proficiency in Microsoft Office.
● Demonstrated experience and effectiveness as a communicator including report writing, oral and presentation skills
● Experience of working in a team based environment.
● Ability to problem solve and exercise appropriate judgement and decision making.

● Desirable criteria
● A recognized qualification in project management/event management.
● An understanding and knowledge of child protection and safeguarding policies and procedures.
● Knowledge of and interest in Sail Training.
● Experience of working in the voluntary sector.

Published in Jobs

#TallshipBursary - The launch of the Drogheda Sail Training Bursary from sponsor Drogheda Port Company took place on Friday 28th April.

The launch marked a unique new sponsorship structure between Public and Private enterprise from the locality. Drogheda Port Company and Louth County Council have teamed up with Irish Cement and Fast Terminals to form the new financial driver of this remarkable youth sail training initiative which is going from strength to strength. The four sponsoring partners are very strong advocates of social corporate responsibility and are committed to the growth and longevity of this bursary scheme.

Although Drogheda is a very proud maritime town the reality is most local youngsters have little experience of anything maritime. In 2013 Drogheda Port Company and Sail Training Ireland joined forces and established the Drogheda Sail Training Bursary in a bid to change that but in a unique and self-educating way.

Sail Training Ireland is the National Sail Training Organisation and a charity with youth development at its core, its patron is President Michael D Higgins. The Drogheda Sail Training Bursary was the first of its kind in Ireland, the anchor scheme, which has led to the subsequent development of similar bursaries in Cork, Belfast, Waterford and Derry so far.

Sail training requires participants to confront many demanding challenges, both physical and emotional. It is an activity that inspires self-confidence and the acceptance of personal responsibility. It promotes an acceptance of others whatever their social or cultural backgrounds, and develops a willingness to take controlled risks. For most who undertake sail training it is a positive life-changing experience.

To date the Drogheda Sail Training Bursary has funded 8 amazing voyages for 72 local youths. Going forward the aim is development and progression and to offer international voyages on world class Tall Ships. None of this would be possible without the local bursary sponsors, Irish Cement, Fast Terminals, Louth County Council and Drogheda Port Company, who are all very committed to this initiative.

To date the scheme has been oversubscribed each year with the participation of sponsoring organisations and schools such as St Mary’s Diocesan School, C.A.B.L.E & Foroige youth projects, Greenhills School, Drogheda Grammar School, Scoil Ui Mhuiri Dunleer, Ardee Community School, Colaiste na hInse Bettystown, Louth and Meath ETB, Drogheda Youth Reach, 18th Meath Scouts & Dunshaughlin Girl Guides.

The scheme caters for young adults between the ages of 16 to 21 years and further information can be obtained from;
Nessa Lally, Drogheda Port Company, 041 9838378, [email protected]
Sara Mason, Sail Training Ireland, 01 8559597, [email protected]

Published in Tall Ships

On Saturday 28th January 2017, Sail Training Ireland (STIRL) held their 5th Annual Prize Giving and Season Launch event in the Oak Room at the Mansion house in Dublin, courtesy of Lord Mayor of Dublin Brendan Carr writes Daragh Sheridan.

Master of ceremonies was the well-known RTÉ Radio 1 Seascapes presenter and Sail Training Ireland Goodwill Ambassador Marcus Connaughton.

The event was a celebration of Sail Training in Ireland involving those involved in every aspect of Sail Training, Port companies, City and County Councils, sponsors, vessel operators, nominating organisations, mentors and trainees. These diverse groups are all blended together with the support of Sail Training Ireland to produce something very special. The stars of the show were as ever the trainees and their fantastic stories of how their sail training experience has such a significant impact on their lives.

Sail Training Ireland All Award Winners 2017Sail Training Ireland Award Winners 2017 at the Mansion House

We heard from Cllr. Ruairi McGinley attending on behalf of the Mayor and from Sail Training Ireland Chairman Seamus Mc Loughlin. Daragh Sheridan, CEO of Sail Training Ireland also announced the launch of the 2017 Voyage Schedule. (A full schedule of the schedule is attached below).

The prize giving followed featuring a number of very deserving and popular winners. (full details of prize winners below).

Then to the highlight of the afternoon as we heard from three trainees.

Roisin Hackett a self-confessed Tall Ship addict who having suffered a spinal cord injury told us how she counted on the fantastic friendships established on previous voyages to get through her ordeal including an extended stay in hospital. Her indomitable spirit was obvious to all and an inspiration as she told us of her next voyage, which she embarks on in June thanks to support from Spinal Injuries Ireland, The Irish Cruising Club and STIRL.

By video link we heard from Tim Baker of Belfast about how the sail training experience had a profound impact on his life. It taught him a huge amount about himself and others but more importantly allowed him to grow and gain the confidence to go out and change his career, become a volunteer and also to inspire other young people to give sail training a try because it can impact their lives in the same way.

The third trainee we heard from was Ross Biggane, who as a result of his sail training experience is forging a maritime career. A very impressive young man who spoke from the heart of his path towards a career at sea made possible by an opportunity offered by STIRL. It was noted that Commodore Hugh Tully, Flag Officer Commanding of the Irish Navy was suitably impressed to pass on some advice about a possible career in the Navy.

Sail Training Ireland promotes youth development from all backgrounds and abilities on the island of Ireland by providing access to sail training voyages. In this challenging environment the trainees learn about themselves, leadership, responsibility, team work, overcoming adversity, friendship and cooperation. As a bonus almost, they learn about sailing and the sea.

Chatting to the various participants at an event like these you hear just how powerful a vehicle for change sail training can be.

- From a nominating organisation that felt a life was possibly saved by the transformation in a participant due to their involvement.
- From Stephen Tate of Belfast City Council who believed that in some cases a week long sail training voyage had the same impact on the development of young people as a year, even two years of regular youth work. Also that the sail training initiative is the best youth development programme they run.
- From parents and loved ones about a career embarked upon or a path changed.
- To a simple boost in self-esteem and confidence gained that enabled a trainee to pursue goals that they had been afraid to do previously.

Sail Training Ireland is a charity & constantly looking for funding to continue the fantastic work they do. “Increased funding leads to more trainees on vessels who may otherwise not have had the opportunity. It also can lead to more brilliant outcomes like the ones we have heard about today” according to Daragh Sheridan of Sail Training Ireland.

A full 2017 voyage schedule and how to get involved is downlodable below.

Please keep an eye out in the next few weeks for a very exciting announcement about a tall ships event coming to Ireland.

Awards

1. Trainee of the year: Ross Moore
2. Special Contribution Award: Victor Springbok
3. Outstanding Achievement Award: Tim Baker
4. Perpetual Asgard Award: Cork Life Centre
5. Watch Leader/ Mentor of the Year: Louise McGrath
6. Volunteer of the Year: Geraldine Lewis
7. Sail Training International ‘Small vessel operator of the year’: Safehaven Ireland and Spirit of Oysterhaven

Published in Tall Ships

Sail Training Ireland recently held an awards event to recognise recent trainees who had completed sail training voyages with the support of Dublin Port Company.

Seven trainees were presented with their awards by Dublin Port CEO Eamonn O’Reilly.

The highlight of the event was the excellent presentations by four of the trainees who told the story of their voyages and the positive impact it had on them.

These voyages were made possible by the generous support of Dublin Port Company. Both Eamonn O’Reilly and Sail Training Ireland CEO, Daragh Sheridan spoke of the fantastic relationship between the two organisations and of the positive impact on the trainees and of the importance of the presence of the tall ships at the annual Dublin Port Riverfest.

Sail Training Ireland is Ireland’s National Sail Training Organisation and a registered charity, formed in 2011 as a replacement for Coiste an Asgard. The organisation raises funds to offer sail training voyages to young people from all backgrounds and abilities on the island of Ireland.

Sail Training offers a unique and very effective means of helping young people to reach their full potential. It provides a platform for personal and group development and offers a life changing experience that sparks a new perspective to help develop essential life skills.

The skills gained and challenges faced on board are transferable to everyday life and for some it can act as a stepping stone into maritime careers.

Published in Tall Ships

Ireland’s National Sail Training organisation, Sail Training Ireland, is seeking a full time manager to to oversee all aspects of its work. 

The charity organisation aims to 'change lives by creating access to sail training voyages for young people from all backgrounds and abilities.

The manager will be located in Dublin, on a full time basis and at an annual salary of €40k. Selection will be through an interview process which will be conducted in Dublin.

To apply for the role click HERE to go directly to the advert on Sail Training Ireland's website.

The deadline for applications is the 26th August.

Published in Jobs

The Waterford Sail Training Tall Ship Bursary scheme is currently in full flow under the overall administration of Sail Training Ireland, with seventeen young people, including fourteen from Waterford, sailing into the Port of Waterford on Friday July 29th, some of them aboard local vessel Brian Ború (the only gaff-rigged Sail Training Vessel in Ireland) skippered by local Tall Ship Captain Liam Keating. The Naval Yacht Creidne will also be there on her first voyage for non-naval trainees since 2009/2010, while the Naval Yacht Tailte will be sailing in company with the other two, her crew including five young Naval Reservists (four from Waterford) skippered by Waterford Councillor Eddie Mulligan.

In all, a total of 22 young people have been on the three vessels for a six day voyage from Cork to Waterford. The Waterford Sail Training Bursary Scheme was established early in 2016 in partnership with Port of Waterford, Waterford Council, and Waterford Area Partnership to provide access to Sail Training voyages on tall ships and large sailing vessels for young people from the region.

tall ship CreidneFair winds and spinnaker set for trainees aboard Creidne

The first two 6-day voyages took place in May and June with young people aged 16-30 years, on board the Waterford based Brian Ború. Other trainees sailed on board the Dutch Tall Ship Morgenster, which visited the city on Friday 17th of June with a total of 32 young people from all over Ireland including 4 trainees from Waterford on board during a 19 day voyage, finishing in the Netherlands. This current voyage began last Sunday in Port of Cork and finishes on Friday 29th of June in Waterford, followed by a presentation of certificates in City Hall by the Mayor of Waterford, Councillor Adam Wyse.

Dutch Tall Ship MorgensterThe Dutch Tall Ship Morgenster has played a key role in the success of the Waterford Sail Training Bursary scheme

Published in Tall Ships

#TallShips - Sail Training Ireland has announced details of its tall ships voyages for youth sailors in 2016.

Three voyages are scheduled on board the 46m brig Morgenster in May and June – Cork to the Netherlands for under-18s (calling at Waterford and Wales), Belfast to Cork for over-18s (calling at the Isle of Man and Dublin) and an open delivery voyage from the Netherlands to Belfast.

Smaller crews will be welcomed on board the Dutch ketch Maybe for a series of 11-day voyages from April to June under the Leargas Youth Exchange programme for under-18, taking in Oban in Scotland, Belfast, Galway, Dublin and ports between.

In addition, the two established bursary schemes for young people in Ireland will hold their own voyages this summer, with the Drogheda Bursary Scheme scheduling two short adventure sailing trips on board the Spirit of Oysterhaven (Waterford–Drogheda and Drogheda–Derry), and the Cork Bursary Scheme sending participants on the same 70ft classic schooner around the South West.

During these five-day excursions young people will learn about the maritime environment, develop their sailing skills and challenge themselves both physically and mentally.

In addition, the 70ft ketch Brian Boru will embark on five discovery voyages for under-18s and over-18s between Waterford, Dublin and Drogheda beginning in March.

Places on these voyages are limited and expensive, but come part-funded thanks to local and European bursary schemes, individuals and sponsoring organisations, topped up by donations raised by each trainee.

Sail Training Ireland has more on its 2016 sailing training voyages HERE.

Published in Tall Ships

#TallShips - Sail Training Ireland will host its 2016 Annual Awards and season launch at Dublin's Mansion House on Saturday 23 January, it has been announced.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Críona Ní Dhálaigh will join many of the young people who took part in voyages on tall ships and other sail training vessels throughout 2015 in attendance at the special event from 2-4pm.

Sail Training Ireland ran its fifth, sixth and seventh projects under the Erasmus+ scheme for education and sport during 2015, two of them 'youth exchange' project plus a 'mobility for youth workers' project comprising 67 participants in total, and with a focus on employability.

Last year was also the third year of the successful Drogheda Sail Training Bursary Scheme, as previously detailed on Afloat.ie, and information will be available on a number of local bursary schemes now in place or under development, including in Cork, Dublin, Waterford, Wexford and Limerick – as well as a new link between Dublin and Liverpool under their intentional twin cities strategies and being developed as part of their respective river festivals.

Organisations that work with young people are welcome to attend and avail of the opportunity to become a 'nominating organisation' and send youths to take part in future funded voyages.

Sail Training Ireland aims to fund 350 trainee voyage berths in 2016 accessible to young people between the ages of 16 and 30, with a special emphasis on those with disabilities.

Funding has also been received from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to develop a sail training initiative in partnership with An Garda Síochána for young people at risk of offending who are involved in the current Garda Diversion Projects.

Places on the day are limited so please contact [email protected] for details.

Published in Tall Ships

#tallship – With St Patrick's Day almost upon us, the westward trek across the Atlantic in search of American benevolence and funding for worthy objectives can become a very crowded pilgrimage. Among those looking for meaningful support for their pet projects, there will likely be proponents of some sort of new Tall Ship to replace the much-mourned brigantine Asgard II, and the ketch Lord Rank, both of which foundered in 2008 to leave Ireland - north and south alike - bereft of national sail training vessels.

Since then, there have been re-groupings of those who support the admirable concept of sail training for young people. In all, there may be as many as five different bodies on the island of Ireland which now provide access to the international programme. Coiste an Asgard itself was wound up in 2011, but it was immediately re-born as the Dublin-headquartered Sail Training Ireland, the national authority which carries the imprimatur of Sail Training International, the global body which co-ordinates and regulates all sail training.

The other main organisation, often functioning in tandem with Sail Training Ireland, is the Atlantic Youth Trust. It has offices in both Dun Laoghaire and Belfast, and has as its primary objective the construction and commissioning – for all Ireland – of a Class A 40-metre three-masted barquentine. WM Nixon continues with the story.

When we carried a history and analysis of Ireland's involvement with the International Tall Ship and Sail Training movement on this site on January 17th, the immediate response was formidable, and in favour. It continues to register hits at a rate which shows that the maritime community in Ireland has a real wish to see our own proper tall ship.

To achieve this ambition, in terms of having a clearly outlined plan the Atlantic Youth Trust is way ahead. With leading personnel from many parts of Ireland on its high-powered board of Trustees and Directors, the concept - originally inspired by Enda O'Coineen and John Killeen of Galway – is already becoming very complete.

Executive Director Neil O'Hagan and other have researched globally in order to analyse the success of more than two dozen national sail training schemes, and they have concluded that the best model to learn from is the Spirit of Adventure Trust in New Zealand, which functions through training based around the barquentine Spirit of New Zealand, which at 45.2 metres in "sparred length" is steel built registering at 184 gross tons, and carries 40 trainees.

The funding concept on the capital outlay for building the new ship for Ireland will ultimately rely on a total of €15 million being put up jointly by the two governments in the interests of inter-community and cross-border co-operation. Although the current turmoil in the Northern Ireland political administration might temporarily impair the onward progress of the plan, it seems to have a certain inevitable momentum, and highly-regarded Netherlands-based Dykstra Naval Architects have been retained on the project, as have their associates at Damen Shipyards, who may supply the vessel in flatpack form for final construction in Ireland.

As to running costs, the AYT point out that it will come out of current spending, as the vessel by nature of its work will be able to tap into government funds for social welfare and other youth schemes.

Faced with such a juggernaut of ideas, energy, contacts at top government level, and sheer enthusiasm, it seems churlish to question the validity of what is, after all is said and done, a magnificent project. But there are many in Irish sailing in general and sail training in particular who are concerned about the thinking on which it is all based.

To begin with, while we all admire the maritime spirit of New Zealand, does it make sense to draw conclusions for Ireland from a successful scheme in what is essentially a very isolated island nation? Ireland may be an island nation, but it's clearly wide of the mark to describe us as isolated, and this is reflected in the pattern of tall ships visit. If just six tall ships turn up at one port in New Zealand, it's regarded as a major event. But if less than sixty tall ships turn up at this year's Tall Ships Festival in Belfast at the beginning of July, then it will be regarded as a non-event.

In other words, Spirit of New Zealand usually functions in relative isolation, so it is not sail training as we know it in Europe. In fact, she is more of a floating school cum boot camp which happens to set sails, and in order to keep her very numerous trainee complement of 40 busy, while cruising in New Zealand waters (which she does nearly all the time), she is escorted by a large rib which frequently conveys the trainees ashore for land-bound ventures which sometimes out-balance their sea time.

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Alone, all alone.....the Spirit of New Zealand in a remote inlet on New Zealand's South Island. With forty trainees and a relatively easily-handled rig, she has a programme whch includes much shoreside activity. Photo courtesy STI

It's a very attractive programme in the New Zealand context, as they have many remote coastal areas which are virtually uninhabited and ripe for shore adventures which will not conflict with the rights of local inhabitants. But in Ireland and much of Europe such a programme would immediately meet problems, and for Ireland it makes more sense to follow the European pattern which puts an almost total emphasis on voyaging and sail training races.

Were a heavily-crewed vessel such as Spirit of New Zealand to do the European programme, there simply wouldn't be enough work for the 20 trainees on each watch to keep them happily occupied for long periods. Ideally, trainee tall ships are extremely labour-intensive for all hands, and in Europe that's the way it is done, but it needs what amounts to individual attention for each trainee.

So it's difficult to escape the conclusion that one reason for the attraction of the New Zealand scheme for the Atlantic Youth Trust is that it wins out in the numbers game. Forty young people taken out of troubled and aimless environments ashore, and sent away together on a voyage, is an impressive amount of social problems temporarily sorted in one fell swoop.

But will it be as behaviourally beneficial, in the long term, as it would be for a smaller number of people on a smaller and busier vessel? It will vary from case to case, but generally you'd reckon that the smaller more personal crew setup, with each trainee more directly involved in the sailing of the ship, would produce better results, while always remember that having as much square rig as possible is central to the concept.

ships3.jpg
A timeless design which remains a very viable proposition for an easily managed ship which keeps her crew busy. Jack Tyrell's lines for Asgard II would lend themselves to construction in steel or even aluminium.

Ideally, to see Ireland's Tall Ship-owning reputation restored, many of us would like to see not just one newly-built replica of the 84ft brigantine Asgard II being launched, but three – one each for Cork, Dublin and Belfast. For, at the moment, the main axis of Atlantic Youth Trust activity seems to be between Dublin and Belfast. Yet as last weekend's National Annual Sailing Awards ceremony in Dublin so clearly underlined, Cork is really where it's at in terms of maritime development, and the lack of a significant Cork element seems to be a weakness of the AYT scheme.

ships4.jpg
Might this be the way forward? One of our suggestions today is that Ireland really needs three Asgard IIs, based in Cork, Dublin and Belfast. We get an idea of how it might look with the two sister-ship American brigantines Exy Johnson and Irving Johnson, which are based in Los Angeles in California, where they were built in 2002.

Nevertheless, it says much for the dedication and energy of those promoting the Atlantic Youth Trust that we have the luxury of debating the validity of their plans, which have been so thoroughly developed. We may disagree with their conclusion, but it's not total disagreement – an Irish version of Spirit of New Zealand would be a very emphatic improvement on our present ship-less state, which is too much of a reflection of an ancient and negative mind-set.

Every time you see the Tall Ships gather and see how maritime countries of population comparable to Ireland, such as Norway, Denmark and Portugal, can send forth spectacularly handsome Tall Ships, it becomes a painful reminder of how the new Irish Free State increasingly turned its back on the sea.

The fact was admitted by Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney at last week's National Sailing Awards Ceremony in a speech which hinted at some very significant developments in the Irish maritime sphere in the near future.

But really, what Minister Coveney was talking about is that it is time and more for us to grow up in our attitude to the sea. When the Free State was struggling into being in 1922, the popular view was that British power was synonymous with sea power. So if you were against the sea and seafaring in all its manifestations, then you were demonstrating the purity of your patriotism through adopting what was essentially if subconsciously an anti-British stance. Childish perhaps. But we all know that's the way it was.

So despite the flurry of maritime enthusiasm which was engendered by national emergency during World War II to inspire the creation of Irish Shipping and the Maritime Inscription, what this meant was that when the underlying attitude genuinely began to change in the 1950s, a positive attitude towards the sea wasn't being built upwards from Ground Zero. It was being built from Ground Minus Thirty – the number of years that an anti-maritime attitude had been the unstated yet very real official policy.

Thus there was a period when Irish maritime enthusiasm had to be kept going almost as a secret cult, and I'd an odd reminder of this some weeks back at the annual Awards Ceremony of Sail Training Ireland. The Patron of STI is President Higgins, and the event was held – for the second year running – in the Mansion House in Dublin. Yet the very fact of the identity of their Patron, and of their event being staged in the Mansion House in the presence of Lord Mayor Christy Burke, provided such pleasure and pride for everyone in the gathering that it was a forceful reminder that, not so very long ago, seafaring was very much the poor relation in Ireland, and there were those in authority who would have happily air-brushed it out of the national picture entirely, leaving it to foreign crews to undertake the rough trades of the sea.

But thanks to those former members of Coiste an Asgard who refused to give up the vision of sail training for Ireland, even as the onset of economic Armageddon from 2008 to 2011 made any prospect of a new Asgard II a very distant vision as the government chucked the €3.8 million insurance payout into the bottomless pit of national debut, Sail Training Ireland arose like a Phoenix and set in place sail training bursaries for places on foreign tall ships, using international contacts built up during the 27 successful Asgard II years to ensure that Ireland could re-build our position at the heart of the movement.

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She keeps them busy....the Dutch brig Morgenster is superbly labour-intensive in the best sail training traditions. Photo courtesy STI

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Gulden Leeuw is another of the Dutch Tall Ships which have been taking Irish trainees to sea on Sail Training International programmes. Photo: Courtesy STI

The thriving tall ships scene in the Netherlands – which has become a focal point for sail training and the Tall Ships industry for all Europe – proved the most fruitful placement area, with most Irish trainees being positioned aboard the very handsome 48 m (sparred length) brig Morgenster, which has become a familiar sight in Irish ports. Another ship well used is the three-masted topsail schooner Gulden Leeuw, a long slim craft as she is 70 m in sparred length, while that noted poster girl of Tall Ships sailing, the 56 metre three masted Dutch barque Europa, also carried Irish crew from time to time.

However, while placements on such vessels work very well, the hankering for an Irish sail training flagship is always there, and fortunately in recent years Oliver Hart's 70ft training schooner Spirit of Oysterhaven has been punching way above her weight in filling the role in gallant style with a varied programme on the Irish coast.

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Spirit of Oysterhaven in South Harbour, Cape Clear Photo: Oliver Hart

This and much more was reflected in the Sail Training Ireland Awards Ceremony in the Mansion House, a goodly gathering which was representative not just of every possible aspect of sail training at home and abroad, but also of Irish ports which are increasingly interested in an activity which brings their ancient waterfronts vividly to life. And the progress of various ship projects was spoken for by everything from complete vessels such as the Basque Spanish schooner Atyla represented by Rodrigo de la Serna, through vessels in the making as personified by our own ketch Ilen. She has since seen her final new plank knocked ceremonially into place at Oldcourt in Baltimore, but here's an evocative video Gary MacMahon left with us of the creative planking process under way. And present too was Neil O'Hagan of Atlantic Youth Trust, whose organisation deservedly received recognition for their pioneering work towards a completely new ship.

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The main awards presented in the Mansion House by STI Chairman Seamus McLoughlin, who is former Head of Operations for Dublin Port, were:
1. Trainee of the year: Andrew Crowley
2. Special Contribution Award: Turlough Kennedy
3. Special Achievement Award: Fiona Armson
4. Perpetual Asgard Award: For an outstanding contribution to, or achievement in Sail Training by an individual or group: Atlantic Youth Trust / Foroige Group of Trainees
5. Watch-leader of the Year: Sara Mason
6. Volunteer of the year: Jonathan O'Brien

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Trainee of the Year Andrew Crowley with his parents in the Mansion House

Trainee of the Year Award: Andrew Crowley
Andrew is Club Captain of the Spirit of Oysterhaven Trust. During 2014, he was instrumental in helping to organise the Club's sailing trips aboard Spirit of Oysterhaven with a special emphasis on providing opportunities for young people with disability. He helped to organise the Club's Youth in Action programme, and crewed aboard Spirit during the Irish Cruising Club's sponsored Anniversary voyage from Glandore to Glengariff with a crew of eight trainees, including several with disability. During the summer Andrew was a vital member of a short-handed crew delivering Spirit from Oysterhaven to Glandore during which he proved himself an outstanding active crew member.

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Commodore Hugh Tully, Flag Officer Commanding Naval Service, with Turlough Kennedy, who received the Special Contribution Award

Special Contribution Award: Turlough Kennedy
This year's special contribution award goes to Turlough Kennedy from the lakeside port of Scarriff in County Clare for the outstanding role he filled on the Dutch tall ship Morgenster.

To quote Michael Byrne, Director of Sail Training Ireland: "This contribution was not only recognised by us. On completion of last year's voyage Turlough - despite his limited sea going experience - was offered a crew member's berth on board the ship by the Captain. While he was not in a position last year to take up this offer for the remainder of the 2014 season, in 2015 we are delighted that Turlough will be sailing as voluntary crew on board the Morgenster. The following is a short note from the ship's Captain, Harry Muter: "Turlough sailed with us last year and he was very good good both in the sailing department as in the social processes. For his age he was surprisingly adult, patient and emphatic. And then the music, it coloured this voyage, and Turlough played a role with his complicated bagpipe and improvisation talent. Looking forward to sail with him again." " (There are no prizes for guessing that "complicated bagpipes" are Uileann Pipes).

Special Achievement Award: Fiona Armson
The special achievement award this year went to Fiona Armson for the tenacity and determination she showed by completing her 14 day voyage. Fiona found some aspects of life at sea a real challenge but despite being given several opportunities by her leaders and the crew to take on a lighter work load Fiona refused to leave her watch and pushed on.
Fiona completed her voyage having never missed a single watch or duty and, in a way that would put a smile on any sailor's face, she sailed the Gulden Leeuw into her home port of Bangor.

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Special Achievement Award Winner Fiona Armson with her parents

Perpetual Asgard Award
Awarded to a group of four Foroige Trainees: Michael Collins, Dean Mc Keon, Brandon McDonagh, and Daniel O'Halloran,

In March 2014, four young people from Ballybane in Galway set out on a remarkable adventure, travelling half way around the world to experience the Spirit of Adventure's 10-Day Youth Development Voyage in New Zealand. Three youth workers accompanied the group for the three week trip, and one of them, Pearse O'Toole, was at the Mansion House with them. The trip was funded by a private donation and managed by the Atlantic Youth Trust and Foroige.

The group spent 10-days sailing around the magnificent Hauraki Gulf off Auckland on the barquentine Spirit of New Zealand. They adapted very well to their new surroundings as crew members and returned with fresh skills, more confidence than ever, and a new outlook on life and what is possible.

Neil O'Hagan, Executive Director of the Atlantic Youth Trust, followed this award with a presentation about the Peace and Reconciliation Fund-supported Sea-Connections scheme, and then the next award was remarkably appropriate, as it was for the Watch Leader of the Year and it went to Sara Mason for her very successful participation in an EU Youth Exchange Voyage on Gulden Leeuw.

Sara (pronounced saarah) is from the North Island of New Zealand, but now lives and studies in Dublin. She is part of the Shackleton Outdoor Adventure Management Diploma Course in Colaiste Dhulaigh in Coolock. She joined the team of youth leaders which facilitated the main voyage programme of Youth Exchange projects in May-June. As a leader on the Dutch Ship Gulden Leeuw, she cared for and facilitated a group of 40 young adults over a 14 day period. She was an outstanding support to them as a leader, and brought with her a set of skills that are unique to professionals who spend their lives working with people in the outdoor adventure industry. She also has a fantastic energy and enthusiasm and was an inspiration to the trainees and other leaders.

Volunteer of the Year Award - Jonathan O'Brien
Jonathan has become involved in a multitude of voluntary activities with Sail Training Ireland in the last year. In 2013 he volunteered as a youth leader for one of STI's youth exchange voyages for 10 days from Belfast to Dublin. In 2014 he was head-leader across youth exchange voyages with a total of 8 leaders, with at times up to 100 trainees across three ships seeking his support.

Having a background in both outdoor education and in social care, Jonathan has an exceptional set of skills that lend themselves very well to the role of leader on a tall ship, and he has now found himself "volunteered" for a position on STI's sub-committee for trainee programmes. During 2014, he also spent time on a number of ships across Europe, while somehow also fitting in a spell serving as First Mate on the Spirit of Oysterhaven. He is helping to develop on-board programmes for a number of STI's funded voyage schemes during 2015, and will also train STI's group of twelve youth leaders in April.

So the good work goes on, but the more of it there is, the more it become apparent that Ireland needs her own tall ship, and the sooner the better. A programme of international placement may work very well for those in the know, but for people down the country which are remote from maritime communities, it often takes the stimulus and sense of pride engendered by an Irish ship to make that first move afloat.

It was summed up so well by investigative academic and journalist Dr Elaine Byrne in our story about the Tall Ships on January 17th that it deserves repeating here. Usually in her line of work, Elaine Byrne takes no prisoners. But the quiet depth of feeling underlying the brief story of how the Byrne family from the deepest rural depths of County Carlow became involved in sail training has a resonance for us all today:

"I'm the oldest of seven children from a farming family on the Carlow/Wicklow border, where the household income is augmented with a funeral undertaking business attached to a pub in which I might still work on visits home. Our background is just about as far as it's possible to be from Ireland's maritime community. Yet thanks to Asgard II, I was able to take a step into the unknown world of the high seas as a trainee on board, and liked it so much that over the years I spent two months in all on board, graduating through the Watch Leader scheme and sailing in the Tall Ships programmes of races and cruises-in-company.

Down in the depths of the country, my new experiences changed the family's perceptions of seafaring. Four of my siblings then had the opportunity to sail on Asgard II. If it were not for Asgard II, my family would never have had the chance to sail, as we did not live near the sea, nor had the financial resources to do so. The Asgard II played a large role in our family life as it became a Rite of Passage to sail on board her. My two youngest siblings did not sail on Asgard II because she sank, which they much regret.

Apart from the discipline of sailing and the adventure of new experiences and countries, the Asgard II brought people of different social class and background together. There are few experiences which can achieve so much during the formative years of young adulthood".

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Seamus McLoughlin, Chairman of Sail Training Ireland, with Michael Byrne, Director.

 

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Carolanna Foley, awarded a Drogheda Port Sail Training Bursary, with Seamus McLoughlin (left) and Commodore Hugh Tully

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Sara Mason, Watch Leader of the Year, with Commodore Hugh Tully

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Jonathan O'Brien (left) Volunteer of the Year, with Oliver Hart

Published in W M Nixon

#tallships – Sail Training Ireland host its third Annual Launch and Prize Giving Event in the Mansion House in Dublin, courtesy of Lord Mayor of Dublin, Christy Burke tomorrow. Master of Ceremonies is Afloat.ie's William M. Nixon who recently blogged on the topic of a New Tall Ship for Ireland

Having formed in 2011 to replace Coiste an Asgard as Ireland's umbrella organisation for Sail Training Activities, the charity is now on firm ground going into the 2015 voyage season and is supported jointly by Dublin Port Company and Dublin City Council. See programmes and timetables as attachments downloadable below as pdf files.

Since their foundation Sail training Ireland has facilitated well over 500 young people to undertake voyages at sea on Tall Ships and other Sailing Vessels. President Michael D. Higgins is Patron.

Tomorrow there will be some significant award winners listed here:

Trainee of the year award: Andrew Crowley:

Volunteer of the year award: Jonathan O'Brien

Special Contribution Award: Turlough Kennedy:

Special Achievement Award: Fiona Armson

Watch-leader of the Year: Sara Mason

Perpetual Asgard Award: For an outstanding contribution to, or achievement in Sail Training by an individual or group: Atlantic Youth Trust Foroige Trainee Group: Michael Collins, Dean Mc Keon.

The 2015 season looks to be very active due to the International Tall Ships Races Festival taking place in Belfast from July 2nd-5th. This results in a lot of activity in the Irish Sea and many ships and voyages taking place in the area.  During the Mansion House event, Sail Training Ireland will announce a voyage programme with capacity for near 300 trainees and a number of very exciting funded programmes.

The most exciting funding schemes for the charity are:

EU Commission "Youth Exchange" projects, under the new Erasmus + scheme- in partnership with Merseyside Adventure Sailing Trust. These take place over 2 x 2 week voyages in June. One for 16-17 year olds and the other for over 18s. On the Dutch Tall Ship Morgenster.

Peace and Reconciliation Funded "Sea-Connections" voyages (North-South) in Partnership with Atlantic Youth Trust. This will create 6 voyages, with 5 trainees from each side of the border on each voyage. The 6 voyages together will result in a circumnavigation of Ireland.

A project which is under development in collaboration with An Garda Siochana and The Irish Naval Service using Lottery Funding through the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. This is aimed at young people in the City of Dublin.

The Drogheda Sail Training Bursary Scheme is in its third year and will fund 20 young trainees from the area with the support of a number of local sponsors, through Drogheda Port Company.

The Belfast Tall Ships Races Festival will also support almost 100 young people to undertake a voyage to Norway as part of the Races. There will also likely be many other young people partaking in this race by their own means.

Many of the above voyages take place on Spirit of Oysterhaven, Ireland's only operational non-naval Sail Training Vessel. This beautiful 70 foot Classic Schooner was completely refit for purpose and is in it's second full season. This year the vessel looks likely to reach full capacity, which raises the question about the need for further Sail Training vessels in Ireland. A

Outside of the very exciting Belfast Tall Ships Races Festival, which expects record numbers of ships and at least 15 or 20 of the Large Square Riggers (Class A's), there are a number of other local Maritime Festivals which will host Tall Ships and with whom Sail Training Ireland work closely. Namely The Dublin Port River Festival (May 30th - June 1st) and The Irish Maritime Festival in Drogheda (June 19th-21st). Each of these will have a fleet of 6-8 Small and Tall Ships visiting during the Month of June. Ships visiting Dublin can be seen in the attached document.

Further to this, Sail Training Ireland is working closely with The Merseyside Adventure Sailing Trust in Liverpool (MAST) to develop an annual programme of Tall Ship Voyages around the Irish Sea, connecting the various cities and festivals and creating an "Annual Irish Sea Initiative".

Noted Guests:

Chairman is Seamus McLoughlin (Former Head of Operations of Dublin Port Company) 

Previous Chair: Kalanne O'Leary (Trustee of Sail Training International)

Amongst our Directors present will be Commodore Hugh Tully, Flag Officer Commanding The Naval Service Brendan Kenny, Assistant Chief Executive of Dublin City Council may attend

Assistant Garda Commissioner John Twomey may attend Charlie Murphy, Communications Manager of Dublin Port Company will attend Sean Flood – Retired Director and International Sail Training Ambassador

Speakers

William M. Nixon Master of Ceremonies

Lord Mayor of Dublin, Christy Burke

Seamus McLoughlin Chairman, Sail Training Ireland

Andrew Crowley Spirit of Oysterhaven Trust / Trainee of the Year.

Introducing a video of Spirit of Oysterhaven.

Foroige Trainees Introducing a Video

Neil O'Hagan Atlantic Youth Trust

Announcing the Peace and Reconciliation Voyage Scheme

Carolanna Foley Drogheda Voyage Scheme Account

Oliver Hart Spirit of Oysterhaven Trust

Published in Tall Ships
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