Sailing programme makes return to West Coast waters

Since launching in June 2021, Our Isles and Oceans has seen 40 young people complete the programme.

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A programme designed to give young people the chance to circumnavigate the globe in a yacht returns to the West Coast this week.

Our Isles and Oceans launched its second programme and welcomed 40 new Ambassadors onto its 68-foot racing yacht on Monday, April 25.

Born from the pandemic, Our Isles and Oceans aims to provide young people who have experienced difficulties during lockdown and restrictions with the opportunity to learn to sail and take part in the 2023-24 Clipper Round the World Race.

Our Isles and Oceans is working with several partners including Argyll and Bute Council, the Scottish Association for Marine Science, BID4Oban, United Nations Association Climate and Oceans, Clipper Race, GRM Marketing, ArdMoor, Royal Dee Yacht Club and Snap Innovations.

‘After 2021’s successful launch, we are really excited to be heading into our second programme for those who need a hand getting the ladder of life re-erected after the last two years,’ said Anthony Stodart, Our Isles and Oceans co-founder and managing director of ArdMoor.

The programme’s focus is to aid young people aged 18-35 – the generation most impacted by the pandemic’s lockdowns and restrictions – in creating sustainable livelihoods. Ambassadors can go on to apply to be on board the Our Isles and Oceans 70-foot racing yacht benefitting from a fully funded crew member position in the 2023-24 Clipper Round the World Race.

Sophia Rosinski, 26, took part in the programme last year and has submitted her application to be one of the ambassadors selected to be in the crew for next year’s race.

‘I had a great time learning to sail, making friends for life, and challenging myself to regain my confidence after a tough lockdown,’ she said.

‘The fact that, on top of that, I could be selected for the Clipper Race is unreal and such a once in a lifetime opportunity.’

The spring programme will be based along the West Coast from Oban and Tobermory and around the Isle of Mull, with the aim to reach the Isle of Skye.

Our Isles and Oceans offers ambassadors the chance to learn to sail from an experienced crew of professional sailors from key partner, Clipper Race. In addition to learning to sail, the Ambassadors will learn about the ecosystem around Oban and Mull from an educational component developed by the Scottish Association for Marine Science in collaboration with last year’s Ambassadors.

Since launching in June 2021, Our Isles and Oceans has seen 40 young people complete the programme. The upcoming spring programme will see another 40 learn to sail and receive their  RYA Start Yachting Qualification following five days of sailing and activities.

Applications will open in summer 2022 for the next Our Isles and Oceans programme coming later this year.