A group of young people from Carrickfergus are to gain valuable experience on the high seas during this summer’s Tall Ships race.
Shannon Molloy, Kamila Babiak, and Caleb Clements are just three of the 80 trainees who will travel on one of the iconic ships during the popular maritime event in July.
The local residents, all aged 17, were selected for a prestigious crew trainee scheme aboard the German-built barque Statsraad Lehmkuhl.
The ship will be part of a fleet during the first leg of the race from Belfast to Ålesund in Norway.
Looking forward to the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is Carrickfergus Grammar student Shannon Molloy. “I heard about it on Cool FM’s Facebook page last year; I applied but then I didn’t think much more about it,” she told the Times.
Following a rigorous application and interview process, Shannon was accepted as one of the trainees.
“I go to Guides and used to play for Carrick Ladies, but I’ve never done anything like this before. I’m just really looking forward to the experience of it,” added Shannon, from Ballycarry.
The maritime setting will be a familiar one for Greenisland local Caleb. “I was in the Sea Cadets for a year before I switched to the Army Cadets,” he said.
The scheme will also offer the opportunity to hone future job skills for the former Carrick College student, who currently works as a rigger.
Meanwhile, Grammar student Kamila, from Whitehead, will be celebrating her 18th birthday at sea on the first day of the race.
The trainees’ duties on board the ship will include keeping watch, controlling the sails, washing the deck, and preparing food.
The journey will culminate in a spectacular leaving party at Ålesund, after which Shannon, Kamila, and Caleb will fly home.
The participants have already completed training in on-the-water activities and safety procedures, as well as a number of team-building activities.
Belfast will act as the home port before the start of the 2015 race, with dozens of the world’s finest sailing vessels berthed in the city over the weekend of July 2 – 5.
This is the third time that Belfast has welcomed the Tall Ships race, having previously staged the event in 1991 and 2009.
However, even more ships will be taking part this year, with some 50 vessels – including 18 massive Class A ships – making the port their home for four days before setting off on their annual challenge.
More than 500,000 people are expected to attend the free event, bringing with them an economic windfall of at least £10 million for the city.