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Tall ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl is today (Tuesday 25 July) under sail, heading for Lerwick in Shetland, with a dozen young mariners from the Western Isles working hard on her decks.

Their voyage from Fredrikstad in Norway to Lerwick, on board the Norwegian sail training ship, is part of the third leg of the 2023 Tall Ships regatta.

The cruise in company is also known as ‘the friendship leg,’ where the tall ships don’t race and the pace on board allows for crews to learn and make new friends.

For the 12 young trainees supported by Stornoway Port Authority, through the Sail Training Shetland charity, it’s an adventure challenge and a great opportunity to stretch themselves and expand their boundaries.

Alex MacLeod, chief executive of Stornoway Port Authority, said: “The Tall Ships races are a fantastic event and I am sure the trainees are thoroughly enjoying the challenge and learning a great deal along the way.

"We have been following their progress since they set sail from Norway and look forward to hearing all about their experiences on their return."

The Statsraad Lehmkuhl is a three-masted barque-rigged sail training ship, built in Germany in 1914 and transferred to British ownership under war reparations in 1920.

She was purchased and put into service as a sail training vessel under the Norwegian flag from 1923, remaining as a ‘school ship’ for most of the years since.

She has 22 sails, expanding to 2.026 square metres and carrying her along at up to 18 knots under sail. She also has diesel engine propulsion of up to 10 knots in fair weather and is renowned as a fast and exceptionally seaworthy sailing vessel.

On board there is capacity for up to 150 trainees in hammocks and cabins for 40 permanent crew and extra training staff.

Lehmkuhl has already been awarded the 2023 prize for the most different nationalities on board, emphasising the philosophy behind the Tall Ships – to teach young people to sail and create friendships across borders.

After visiting Aberdeen over the weekend, Lehmkuhl’s Captain Marcus A Seidl said: “We were very graciously received in Aberdeen and those of the crews that had the desire and opportunity could literally experience a taste of Scottish culture.

“It’s nice to see that our voyage crew are still enjoying themselves on board and that 13 different nationalities are not a hindrance – on the contrary, it’s most likely that very fact that makes the cooperation and morale so good.”

Now the sailing ship has set course for Lerwick and is expected to arrive there tomorrow morning (Wednesday) – the opening day of a four-day long regatta – among 37 participating ships from all over Europe and Scandinavia.

Thousands of people are expected to turn out as over 1,300 crew members parade through the streets, enjoying family entertainment, crafts and local produce and getting the chance to attend headline concerts with bands including Peat & Diesel and Tide Lines.

The Tall Ships event runs until Saturday 29 July when spectators will gather for the impressive sight of the Parade of Sail between noon and 3pm. Young crew members from the Outer Hebrides return to Stornoway the same day.

The pictures show the Stornoway crew members as they joined their ship in Fredrikstad, Norway last week (Stornoway Port Authority), the ship being piloted into Aberdeen harbour on Friday and crew learning the ropes on board (Statsraad Lehmkuhl).