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New Scottish Sailing Scheme for Young People Affected by the Pandemic Begins

2nd August 2021
Crew on board Our Isles and Oceans
Crew on board Our Isles and Oceans

On Friday last (30th July), a new scheme for young people affected by the pandemic began in Oban on the Argyll and Bute coast in Scotland. The first participants include a cabaret singer, intensive care doctor and a student.

Named the Our Isles and Oceans, the initiative is working with the Clipper Race to offer sail training with the aim of building self-confidence and self-esteem, which many young have lost over the last 18 months.

The programme will run over four consecutive weeks and has recruited forty 18–35-year-olds in training groups of ten, who will learn to sail a stripped-back 68-foot Clipper Race training yacht.

Each group will also have to get used to living onboard, sleeping in bunks, and spending time in close quarters with each other. The sail training will be carried out under the leadership of a Clipper Round the World Yacht Race Skipper.

The project has been set up to offer youth opportunity and professional development and intends on highlighting the importance of a sustainable future. through the vehicle of sport and business.

There could also be the opportunity for ten successful candidates to take part in the Clipper 2023-24 Round the World Yacht Race on the Our Isles and Oceans team entry.

One of the participants, Siraj Balubaid, 23, a refugee of Yemen who lives in Glasgow, was first up on deck. He said: "I woke up so excited, I just want to start. The moment I woke up, I went up on deck, I didn't want breakfast or anything, I looked to the sky thinking let's go! I am really looking forward to the training. I want to go further and compete in the Clipper Race for real."

Siraj Balubaid, a refugee of Yemen who lives in GlasgowSiraj Balubaid, a refugee of Yemen who lives in Glasgow

Siraj is an avid volunteer and is currently working as General Secretary in the United Yemeni Community in Scotland Board. He applied to the Our Isles and Oceans programme after it was recommended to him by the UYCS. Following the training programme, if Siraj was selected to take part in the Clipper 2023-24 Race, he would be the first person from Yemen to compete in this global sailing event.

Our Isles and Oceans branded Clipper 68 in Largs, ScotlandOur Isles and Oceans branded Clipper 68 in Largs, Scotland

With young people being particularly impacted this past year, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo, non-stop around the world and co-founder of the Clipper Race, hopes this new programme will make a positive change in the successful candidates' lives. "Sailing is so much more than just a sport or pastime as it gives you experience that is as useful in the workplace as it is onboard a yacht. The sport develops self-confidence and self-esteem which is so important to restore following the pandemic".

The first Our Isles and Oceans sailing programme runs until 2 August and then continues throughout August. More here

Betty Armstrong

About The Author

Betty Armstrong

Email The Author

Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down.

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