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International Sail Training and Tall Ships Conference 2017: Annual Awards

Posted on: 05.12.17

At the International Sail Training and Tall Ships Conference 2017 in Bordeaux, the annual awards for significant sail training achievement were presented to a diverse and international group of people, vessels and ports – who have all made the sail training world a better place.

And the winners are…

Greatest Loyalty: Black diamond of durham (uk)

Awarded to the vessel that in the opinion of the Race Management Team, volunteers, directors and Trustees, has shown great loyalty towards the Tall Ships Races over many years.

Black Diamond of Durham has taken part in all legs of every Tall Ships Race since 2003. She also took part in each of the Regattas held in 2010, 2012 and 2016.  In what could also be something of a record, she has had the same skipper on every leg of the Races and Regattas since 2005.

Young Sail Trainer of the Year (Volunteer): Lennart Koch (Germany) (22)

Awarded to a professional sail trainer under 26 to encourage high-performing individuals who deliver sail training to young people.

Lennart was born in 1995 and started sailing onboard Alexander von Humboldt II (Germany) in high school.  He soon became fascinated by life at sea. Unfortunately, a serious illness struck the young crew member some years ago. After long months of recovery, battles against his medical condition and hoping to recover completely, he fought his way back into his more or less normal life and decided to use his time as well as he could.

Lennart is a true example of optimism and strength, and serves as a role model for many young crew members. Despite his medical background, he is a “sunshine“ with a positive impact on others, and he inspires many trainees and crew who go sailing with him during The Tall Ships Races, during other voyages and during shipyard volunteer work.

Young Sail TRAiner of the Year (professional): Jakob Fremgen (Germany) (28)

Awarded to a sail training volunteer under 26 to encourage high-performing individuals who deliver sail training to young people.

Jakob was introduced to sailing when he joined a school sailing trip in the Netherlands and he liked it so much that he knew that this would be his future. Immediately after finishing school he joined the Dutch inshore fleet as a deck hand at the age of 18. In 2011 at the age 0f 22, he joined Morgenster (Netherlands) as an apprentice deck rating. The following year he started as a mate, developed fast as a first mate, and became Master at the age of 27, in 2016.

Sail TrainER OF THE YEAR (Professional): Captain Sarah Parry (australia)

Awarded to a sail training professional to encourage high-performing individuals who deliver sail training to young people.

Sarah Parry’s drive and determination has seen her bring a dream into reality. The 33m brigantine, Windeward Bound (Australia), was launched in 1996, and for the past 17 years Captain Parry has served as the Managing Trustee and Captain. As well as embarking countless trainees for youth development voyages, Sarah also promotes formal mariner training. Since 2002 more than 38 volunteer crew members have attained Certificates of Competency providing hands-on training, sea time, supervision and funding for courses. Captain Parry is currently Vice President of Tall Ships Australia and New Zealand.

Sail Trainer of the Year (Volunteer): Bent Lindfors, (finland)

Awarded to a volunteer sail trainer to encourage high-performing individuals who deliver sail training to young people.

Bent Lindfors has been a sail training volunteer for over 25 years. He became acquainted with sail training in the spring of 1999 when he crossed the Atlantic as a trainee on the schooner Helena (Finland). He was bitten by the sailing bug and took part in the STA Finland training programme, becoming a volunteer on their under 24m vessels, and also signed on at maritime academy. Bent is very open-minded, very approachable, and has the ability to motivate his crews to their best possible performance. He is very popular amongst the trainees for the way in which he encourages skills in sailing, and in how much of his time he has given to STA Finland. He still volunteers for an average of 110 days a year on STA Finland’s vessels, and his contribution to STAF’s youth programme is overwhelming. 

Vessel Operator of the Year (small vessels): esprit, (Germany)

Awarded to a sail training organisation, operating smaller vessels, that demonstrates excellence in “innovation” and “best practice” in sail training for young people.

Esprit (Germany) is a Schooner Yacht owned by the German Youth organisation Jugendkutterwerk Bremen e.V. She has regularly taken part in The Tall Ships Races and has many times successfully completed the race legs. Her young crew has benefitted from the events in port by participating in creative ways during the Crew Parades, competing against others in the sports events during the stay at the host ports, and afterwards establishing these new international connections by inviting lots of other crew from the smaller vessels onboard during various themed parties. Esprit (Germany) has also taken part in the funding programme of Sail Training Association Germany since the beginning, leading to hundreds of young people being able to come on board for the first time in their lives and to have valuable experiences at sea. 

Vessel Operator of the Year (large vessel): Gulden lEEUW, (nETHERLANDS)

Awarded to a sail training organisation, operating larger vessels, that demonstrates excellence in “innovation” and “best practice” in sail training for young people.

Gulden Leeuw (Netherlands) sails the North Sea, the Baltic, the Mediterranean, North and South Atlantic and the Caribbean. During the summer trainees participate in The Tall Ships Races or other sail training programmes, and during the winter they stay onboard for a full school year studying the normal academic  school curriculum as well as learning every aspect of sailing the vessel. Gulden Leeuw has a specific sail training protocol that is unique and innovative in its approach. 

From the moment the trainees arrive they are in charge and the professional crew observe them to help them sail the vessel. This empowering approach provides the trainees with responsibility and highlights the importance of teamwork. This takes place in several phases: teaching, training and coaching. The goal is to enable them to fully take over the vessel, with each trainee applying for a position onboard. Through this, trainees learn the importance of time-keeping, leadership, manoeuvres, organization, planning ahead, troubleshooting and solving problems as a member of a watch system.

Host Port Trophy: Szczecin, Poland

Awarded to the port that has recruited the greatest number of trainees during the Tall Ships Races.

The 2017 Tall Ships race series host ports did a great job recruiting a large number of trainees. The winning port, Szczecin, had an excellent trainee recruitment campaign that provided 140 young people from all backgrounds, to experience the exciting adventure of being a crew on a Tall Ship.

Boston Teapot Trophy: Marcus siedl, STAtsraad lemkhul (Norway)

Awarded to the ship which, at any time between 1 October and 30 September, covers the greatest distance in any period of 124 hours, which is 5 days and 4 hours with a sail training crew on board.

Statsraad Lemkhul (Norway) covered 1,548 Nautical Miles whilst sailing in 2017. When the winning Captain was presented with this trophy in 2015 with a record distance of over 1,400 nautical miles he said that it was unlikely that this record would be beaten for some time. Two years later a Captain Marcus Siedl achieved a remarkable distance of 1,548 nautical miles on the same ship!

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT in sail training AWARD: Andy spark (UK) & christian bickert (France)

Andy spark

Andy first sailed on board Lord Nelson (UK) in 1988 after having a serious motorbike accident which led to the amputation of his leg, transforming him from an able-bodied young man into a disabled adult. He was the first disabled bosun’s mate to work for prolonged period of times at sea on Lord Nelson, and has been critical in changing the attitudes of able bodied sailors worldwide. His drive, passion and motivation to make sail training accessible to all, regardless of their physical or sensory impairments, is quite simply outstanding. 

The Jubilee Sailing Trust has been at the forefront of breaking down barriers and for two decades Andy has been the one driving the change. He was Ship Operations Manager for over a decade, before moving this year into Head of Programmes. Possibly his greatest achievement in recent years was planning and managing the two-year Norton Rose Fulbright Sail the World Challenge which introduced disabled people of the countries she visited to a very new experience. He demonstrates to everyone that disability is no disadvantage to a life in operational management.

Christian Bickert

After completing a degree in Chemical Engineering, Chris spent four years in the French Navy as a Deck Officer. His civil career with an international aluminium company handling production, engineering and sales of technology all over the world, ended as Vice President of Aluminium Technology in the United States. Chris has been with Sail Training Association France since 1996 and is now Vice President as well as a member of the International Committee. Chris enjoys sailing in South Brittany where he resides, when not in Paris or working with Sail Training International.


The Royal Navy of Oman (RNO) are old friends of Sail Training International, and for many years now Shabab Oman has been a popular participant in the Tall Ships Races. In addition, over the last six years RNO has donated €300,000 to help disadvantaged young people take part in our events through the Sultanate of Oman Bursary Fund. 

Sail Training Association (STA) Latvia is the operator of the only sail training yacht in Latvia, Spaniel, which has taken part in all The Tall Ships Races since 1998, missing only one leg due to technical issues. STA Latvia is a group of volunteers with no paid staff, who take care of Spaniel throughout the year.  In 2017 Spaniel took part in the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta, which was a big success. During this event Spaniel and her crew members, many of them also members of STA Latvia, won nine prizes, including the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta Friendship Trophy.

Special Recognition Award from Sail Training international Chairman, Doug Prothero

Sail Training International Chairman, Doug Prothero, presented an award to Jennifer Angel, Acting President & CEO, Waterfront Development, Halifax, to recognise the organisations work of the Waterfornt Development Corporation with their Msit No’Kmaq Tall Ship Project, a youth development and skills-building initiative focusing on indigenous Canadians during the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta.

The project took 45 indigenous young people, aged between 16 and 24 from across Canada, on the final race leg (Race 5) of the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta from Halifax, Canada, to Le Havre, France. The 45 indigenous young people selected for the project will sail on board Gulden Leeuw (The Netherlands) with other trainees and permanent crew in the second Transatlantic leg of this epic event.