six members of the Berwickshire youth project Connect, are taking part in a round Britain sailing relay aboard the 100ft yacht Duet which celebrates its centenary this year.
The Duet set off from Greenwich on the River Thames on Monday, May 27, following a ceremony the day before aboard the tea clipper Cutty Sark.
She is now sailing anti-clockwise around the UK coast, cutting through the Caledonian Canal and arrriving in Weymouth, Dorset in time for the Olympic sailing events.
From there she returns to London for the Olympic 2012 closing ceremony, having had 60 youngsters from across the country sailing under the watchful eye of the skipper and mate.
On board the Duet is a baton made from timber from the Cutty Sark, one of Britain’s most important maritime heritage assets. The baton will be passed from group to group as Duet sails the 11 legs of the voyage around Britain.
The Berwickshire youngsters taking part have been given the chance to join the Duet on the Eyemouth to Inverness leg of the journey from June 16-22.
To make the voyage special the Cirdan Sailing Trust, who own the Duet, are linking up with Olympians, sports personalities and local dignitaries who will be invited aboard to present certificates of achievement to each of the young crews and join them on Duet for a day’s sailing.
In some ports there will also be a small reception in Duet’s honour with young crew acting as hosts to show off some of their newly developed skills.
Connect are co-ordinating the Berwickshire involvement and currently have sponsor sheets on the go and are looking at ways of raising the £5,000 needed to cover the costs - £4,410 for the voage, the remainder being travel costs as they have to get the train back from Inverness once they leave Duet.
All the youngsters are aged between the ages of 14 and 17 years. The Coldstream representatives are Scott Maceachean (16) and Chloe McGregor (17), Duns youngsters Corey Jefferson (16), Oscar McAndrew (19) and Jack Sanderson (14) are also signed up, and Aaron Miller (16) from Eyemouth is also preparing for the trip.
A Cirdan Trust spokesperson said: “The Cirdan Sailing Trust specialises in enabling groups of young people to experience the challenge and adventure of life at sea on large sailing vessels.
“The experience and benefits gained can clearly be measured against desired outcomes as highlighted by our youth leaders.
“Amongst these are developments in self-confidence, sense of achievement, team building, tolerance, facing challenges and sense of responsibility.
“Recent evaluation of the benefits gained from Cirdan’s Voyage of Discovery indicate that our youth leaders consider that significant or moderate developments were gained at a level of 92% and above.”
And Susie Hopewell of Connect is confident that the Berwickshire youngsters involved will also benefit from the experience.
“They will all bring so many different things with them, and we hope that the experience can count towards their youth achievement awards. They were chosen because we felt they would get involved and would benefit most.
“They will take all their food for the trip, and Corey is bringing his guitar to provide the entertainment when they’re in port overnight.”
The Duet sails into Eyemouth harbout on the evening of Friday, June 15, and the Berwickshire youngsters will board her on the Saturday morning, setting sail at 12 noon.