A presentation ceremony took place in the Port of Cork to celebrate the achievement of 26 young people from all backgrounds and a range of abilities across Cork City and County who completed voyages aboard the Cork-Based Vessel Spirit of Oysterhaven and the Tall Ship Pelican of London during the 2017 season. These voyages were made possible by a group of generous sponsors including Port of Cork, Cork City Council, Cork County Council, Dell, Ardmore Shipping, Enterprise System Partners, The Institute of Master Mariners and the National Maritime College of Ireland.
Four trainees from the City and County crewed the Pelican from Dublin arriving in Belfast after 12 days exploring around the Irish sea. The Pelican was due to call to Cork during this voyage but unfortunately was forced to turn back due to adverse weather. Another two Cork trainees sailed from Belfast to Liverpool and on to Dublin over 10 days. These trainees formed part of groups with up-to 28 trainees and mentors on each voyage which were part funded using EU “Erasmus +” funding and involved active educational programmes of youth development as part of “Youth Exchange” projects.
In addition 20 Cork based young people took part on two six day voyages on the gorgeous local vessel Spirit of Oysterhaven. These lucky trainees enjoyed the beautiful coastline scenery while sailing between Glandore and Cork.
The Cork Sail Training Bursary Scheme was established in 2014 to provide access to Sail Training voyages on tall ships and large sailing vessels for young people from the region. Now in its fourth year the scheme is one of the largest and most active on the Island of Ireland and runs in parallel with similar schemes now in operation under Sail Training Ireland in Belfast, Drogheda, Dublin, Waterford, and Galway. The participants are nominated through a network of youth and community groups in Cork and places are available to young people from all backgrounds and with all abilities. The scheme has supported approximately 80 trainees since 2014 and looks likely to grow from strength to strength over the coming years.
Also present on the day were trainees straight off the “Spirit of Oysterhaven” having finished their recent voyage today (day of event 1st of September), following 6 days at sea beginning in Glandore County Cork. The vessel was alongside in Port of Cork during the event and opened to visitors afterwards.
“Our young people returned to us not just with new experiences but new skills, new friendships and new directions for the future.” Cork Life Centre.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Brendan Keating Chief Executive said: ‘The Port has been involved with Sail Training Ireland for a number of years now and has supported many voyages for young adults. We feel this is a very worthwhile initiative for the Port of Cork which teaches seamanship, teamwork, personal development and importantly gives them an awareness of life at sea. We would like to commend all 26 of the young trainees today and wish them the very best for their futures.’
MC for the event was former RTE Radio “SeaScapes” Presenter Marcus Connaughton (Goodwill Ambassador for Sail Training Ireland) and the certificates were presented to trainees by Lord Mayor of Cork City Tony Fitzgerald, County Mayor Declan Hurley and Commodore Hugh Tully Flag Officer Commanding Naval Service (F.O.C.N.S.). The Naval Service is a strong supporter of Sail Training for young people as a stepping stone into maritime careers.