Two brothers from Rothesay are preparing for a summer holiday like no other as they take to the seas as sail trainees on the Cruise in Company - part of The Tall Ships Races 2011.
The Cruise in Company is the most social and relaxed leg of The Tall Ships Races. Setting sail from Greenock Cameron Soane (16), a pupil at Rothesay Academy, and Ruairidh Soane (17), a student about to attend Strathclyde University, will cruise along Scotland’s west coast and islands, calling in at no less than 12 guest harbours en-route to Shetland.
The participating 49 ships and their followers will be met with a warm welcome in the ports of Campbeltown, Islay, Oban, Ullapool, Stornoway, Stromness, Kirkwall, Fair Isle, Scalloway, Yell, Unst and Whalsay.
Commenting on his forthcoming voyage, Ruairidh said: “I am delighted to be taking part in the Cruise in Company. As it’s a non-competitive leg, we can enjoy the leisurely sail and soak up the party atmosphere in the guest harbours.
“In September I plan to study naval architecture with marine engineering at Strathclyde University and I’m hoping that this trip will help to prepare me for my studies by providing relevant background experience.”
Both Ruairidh and Cameron will be crewing Tecla – a class B traditional sail training vessel from the Netherlands which will provide a great chance for the boys to put the skills acquired over the last few years at Isle of Bute Sailing Club into practice.
Cameron said: “Sailing in this leg is a great opportunity for me to build on my sailing experience without the added pressure of competing in a race.
“I have always wanted to sail onboard a Tall Ship. I first saw them when I was very young and, from then, I have always been fascinated by the vessels. I have been a dinghy sailor for almost five years and have sailed a few yachts in that time, but the chance to sail with the Tall Ships will be the ultimate challenge.
“The Cruise in Company will provide me with valuable experience that I will be able to bring back and share with the other members of my local sailing club which will hopefully inspire them to work towards similar trips in the future.”
Meanwhile, anyone from Bute considering travelling from Bute to see the Tall Ships during their stopover in Greenock should keep in mind a few useful tips for getting to and from the event.
There will be very little parking available at the event itself, and the organisers have encouraged those who want to travel by car from the west to use the park and ride facility at IBM, from where a bus will take you to the heart of the event.
The drop-off point is at the T-Mobile car park in Greenock (Saturday to Monday) or the Greenock Esplanade (Tuesday). There is a charge of £15 per car.
Alternatively you can catch the 901 or 906 bus services, both operated by McGill’s, from Wemyss Bay ferry terminal.
Both routes pass by the James Watt Dock and Inchgreen Dock, and the 901 route, via Gourock, is also ideal for Tuesday’s Parade of Sail.
Another option is to travel by train from Wemyss Bay, changing at Port Glasgow for a train to either Bogston or Cartsdyke on the Glasgow-Gourock line. Extra services will operate on the Gourock route for all four days of the event.
Or you can let the boat take the strain and travel in style on the paddle steamer Waverley, which will operate a one-off return cruise from Rothesay to Greenock on Monday only – see the Waverley ad on page 13 this week for details of sailing times and ticket prices.
There’s a packed programme of events planned for the Races’ stop in Greenock – see www.tallshipsracesgreenock.com for details, and go to www.trafficscotland.org/tallships for more information about travelling to and from the event.