SIX Berwickshire youngsters are currently on the high seas, having set off from Eyemouth on Saturday on board the 100ft yacht Duet, bound for Inverness.
They are taking part in a round Britain sailing relay to celebrate the yacht’s centenary year, the voyage having been timed to fit in with the 2012 Olympics.
Duet set sail from Greenwich, London, on May 27 and is sailing anti-clockwise around the UK coast, cutting through the Caledonian Canal and arriving in Weymouth, Dorset, in time for the Olympic sailing events. They 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.
From Weymouth Duet 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.
As well as a crew of enthusiastic youngsters on board the Duet is also carrying a baton made from timber from the Cutty Sark, one of Britain’s most important maritime heritage assets.
The baton is being passed from group to group as Duet sails the 11 legs of the voyage around Britain.
The yacht is operated by the Cirdan Sailing Trust which specialises in giving groups of young people the opportunity to experience the challenges and adventures of life at sea on large sailing vessels. It allows them to develop self-confidence and gives them a sense of achievement, as they take part in team building challenges.
When a gap in the Duet’s itinerary opened up. the Cirdan Sailing Trust contacted the Berwickshire youth project Connect, and both managers and youngsters jumped at the chance to take part.
So at noon on Saturday, June 16, Scott MacEachen (16), Chloe McGregor (17), Corey Jefferson (16), Oscar McAndrew (19), Jack Sanderson (14) and Aaron Miller (16), along with youth worker Susie Hopewell, clambered on board and set out from Eyemouth harbour to sail along the east coast of Scotland.
They were due to make overnight stops on the way up to Inverness, arriving there on Friday, and travelling back to the Borders by train.