Sail Training Ireland has confirmed the difficult decision to cancel all its Tall Ship voyages for 2020 due to the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 virus.
The objective of STI is youth development rather than just teaching people to sail. In 2018, Sail Training Ireland placed 341 young people on sail training vessels, over 90% of whom were from disadvantaged backgrounds.
As Afloat's Tom MacSweeney reported earlier, while there was a small possibility that some activity could have taken place at the later phases of the Government easing of the lockdown, it was felt that there was no way to ensure the social distancing required to ensure the safety of the trainees and crew.
Sail Training Ireland does not own or operate is own vessels, but charters as required. This is a different model to the state’s previous sail training vessel, the Asgard, which sank off the coast of France in 2008.
This is very disappointing news for over 400 young people who were due to take part this year. All trainees who were booked on voyages have been offered the chance to change to new voyage dates in 2021 or to receive a full refund.
It is also a very difficult time for sail training vessel operators who face a full season without any sailing.
Sail Training Ireland will publish their full 2021 calendar of voyages next week and bookings for those voyages can be made on their website.
“Like all charities this is a difficult time for Sail Training Ireland, but we are delighted that all our fantastic supporters and sponsors are fully behind us and the work we do. I would like to thank them for their wonderful support, and we look forward to an exciting 2021” Daragh Sheridan, CEO of Sail Training Ireland.