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Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta: These Trainees Can’t Wait to Sail On Board

Posted on: 30.03.17

The Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta is our first Transatlantic race since 2009. We think that’s pretty exciting… but there’s more. This summer’s unmissable event forms part of the 150th anniversary celebrations of the Canadian Confederation and it takes place alongside the 35th America’s Cup. It doesn’t get bigger than this… and you can be part of it!

The Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta starts in less than two weeks in Royal Greenwich, UK, and we can’t wait for festivities to begin. It’s not too late to get involved – there are still trainee places available on each of the five incredible race legs. Still need convincing? Keep reading!

We caught up with four awesome young people who will be taking part in different legs of the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta. Check out their incedible stories and get ready to be inspired…

Rose Tunna (UK)

RDV trainee Rose Tunna

Why did you apply to take part in the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta? I applied for the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta as this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I just couldn’t miss! There’s an amazing atmosphere that comes with being part of an amazing crew, waking up to incredible sunrises, and sailing right through to a spectacular sunset. And I couldn’t miss the amazing, hearty food that we get to prep, cook and most importantly eat. The race itself is full of adrenaline, and working with an energetic crew means that there’s never a dull moment, even when it’s raining.

How do you feel about the challenge of taking part in the event? Ahead of the event, I feel excited and can’t wait to sail to Canada from Boston, with a crew that will eventually become my second family whilst at sea. Being away sailing for three weeks will be strenuous and exhausting, but this is a challenge that I’m willing to beat.

What are you most looking forward to? Spending an exciting three weeks sailing with the crew, meeting new fellow sailors, and seeing the beautiful scenery throughout the trip.

What are you least looking forward to? The flight home! After an amazing trip, it’s always hard to say goodbye, as you grow so close and make lifelong friends.

What skills do you think you’ll learn? Most importantly, teamwork. Every day is spent with your watch, so getting to know them and how they work is very important. Another skill I think I will develop is my sailing knowledge – I’m looking forward to becoming wiser and knowing more about sailing.

How are you raising funds to cover the costs? I’ve been contacting local business asking for their support, and letting family members and friends know about the adventure I’m taking part in. I’m taking part in car boot sales, selling items and donating the money that I make. Also, a cake sale. I’m also thinking about doing a sponsored swim at my local swimming baths.

What would you say to someone thinking about taking part? I would definitely advise them to take part in this amazing adventure, as they may never get this opportunity again. The skills and knowledge you will learn, along with the amazing friendships you make, are definitely worth three weeks away from home!

How did you first hear about the Rona Sailing Project? I first heard about the Rona Sailing Project in 2014 whilst studying adventure sports at Reasheath College. I took part in a week-long STV. After this experience, I tried to sail with this project at every opportunity that came up.

How has taking part in sail training changed you? Taking part in sail training has made me a more confident person, making me speak out more and voice my opinions. You’re always wanting to help with the next task, which improved my teamwork skills and my physical fitness.

Catheryne Langford (Canada)

RDV trainee Catheryne Langford

Why did you apply to take part in the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta? I decided to take part in RDV2017 because I’ve always loved sailing ships. When I heard about RDV2017, I knew from the start that this experience was made for me. I’m adventurous at heart and I love to overcome challenges. It’s not a simple sailing experience, it’s participating in a Tall Ships Regatta, involving up to 40 Tall Ships, taking place over five months, through seven different countries! Therefore, I couldn’t miss this chance to mix sailing ships, travelling, challenges, and to exceed my own expectations.

How do you feel about the challenge of taking part in the event? I’m really excited to participate in this adventure. I’m truly honoured to take part in RDV2017 with two amazing Tall Ships: Blue Clipper and  Atyla. Sure, I’m a little bit nervous when I think about participating for three and a half months. But, I know that fear will never be enough to prevent me from realising my dreams, so I forge ahead!

What are you most looking forward to? I want to connect with the sea. For me, being on a Tall Ship is the purest form of freedom. I want to feel the sea and the wind in my hair and work with an experienced crew to succeed in this race.

What are you least looking forward to? I will have to conquer my fears, like my fear of heights when I have to hoist sails and climb the mast. Also, I’ll have to face the strength of nature – I’m conscious of the fact that the sea and the wind won’t always be soothing. There will be some rough weather, where nature will be unleashed. However, I know that I’ll be with an experienced crew that I can count on. Again, I’ll have to live with 25-30 people during my time at sea, so this will be a big challenge. There might be some clashing personalities, and we will have to work together to sail in harmony. I’m an easy person to live with, but I’m conscious that I might be with people a lot younger than me. And, sometimes, I like to be alone, which will be another challenge, because those moments will be very limited in a boat full of people.

What skills do you think you’ll learn? I will learn a lot about sailing and about how a sailing ship works. I’ll learn how to set the sails, how to move forward when facing the wind, and other manoeuvres. Also, I’ll have to learn how to live with 25-30 people, so patience and respect will be important.

How are you raising funds to cover the costs? I’ve gathered all the necessary information to present my project to people: my budget, the duration of the trip, and so on. I’ve made appointements with different important people in my region (the mayor and deputies, for example) to talk to them about the event. I’ve been interviewed by community radio, at Radio-Canada Gaspesie-Matane, and by the community newspaper, to explain my project. I undertook a crowd funding project, which included a project description and promitional video. I researched and met with many businesses, to see if they would be interested in becoming my official sponsors. I distributed lots of promotional flyers. I organised an evening meeting where I presented my project in front of 50 people – and people could give me donations in support. I’ve visited some primary and secondary schools, where I met students and shared my project with them, to inspire them.

What would you say to someone thinking about taking part? If you really want something, if it’s your dream, then money can’t be enought to stop you. You have to do everything in your power to find the funds.When you believe strongly in something, or you really want to do something, the people around you believe it, too. Everyone can dream… but only some people dare to do it! Anything is possible if you believe it and go for it!

How did you first hear about the event? I heard about the event from my parents’ friend, who had already worked on a Tall Ship, the Sedna 4. At that time, I really wanted to travel and needed an amazing project to hook me. I always wanted to sail, but the occasion never presented itself. When I heard about the event, I knew that I didn’t want to miss my chance to take part in this adventure. I needeed to participate, it was visceral.

How has taking part in sail training changed you? I’ve not sailed yet and the adventure has already changed me. Everything that I’ve done so far has made me grow and develop a lot of competences as a young woman, but also as a professional. Indeed, to realise this project, I have had to use all of my power and work hard every day. For example, during meetings with businesses, I’ve worked hard to convince them that my project deserves to be funded. Futhermore, I’m truly more organised then I’ve ever been in my academic background. I’ve also developed a lot of professional competences with thoses meetings. I’ve become known as a determined young woman in my community, who will do everything to accomplish what she wants. I’ve developed my leadership, I’m more confident, and I know that I’m able to undertake anything with my determination. When I look back, I knew I had to find $12,000 for my project. Now, in two months, I’ve raised almost $9,500 and it’s still going! It’s amazing. I’m proud of myself. Proud of not giving up when I told to myself that cash won’t ever be a valid reason to prevent me from realising my dreams.

Pierre-Luc Morin (Canada)

RDV Trainee Pierre-Luc Morin

Why did you apply to take part in the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta? Sailing is in my soul. As soon as I found out that these Tall Ships would sail past my city (Mantane), along the shore of the Fleuve St-Laurent (Saint Lawrence River), Gaspésie (Gaspé Peninsula), Québec, Canada, I knew that I had to be there. Furthermore, when I saw that I was facing the reality of coming aboard as a trainee – something that I had been dreaming about my whole life – I said to myself, “You just can’t let this unique opportunity pass without jumping into it!” Simply, I applied to take part because I know it will totally change my life. I’ve lived the past 36 and a half years (my age) close to the sea, watching vessels hiding under fog or glinting under the sun, just in front of my house. I had the chance to work on snow-crab fishing boats as an observer, jumping once in a while on small sailing boats, dreaming of THE big thing, the big dream.This summer, it’s my time, it’s my turn. This summer I’ll come aboard Oosterschelde for a unique and magical journey.

How do you feel about the challenge of taking part in the event? I know that it will be the experience of a lifetime. I am looking forward to getting on board. Ever since the day I registered with the captain of my ship, I had a vision of sailing on the high seas, with the wind, the waves, the stars, and the energy of all of it. I dream about it!

What are you most looking forward to? First, I’m looking forward to reaching the docks of Québec City on 22 of July – ready to set sail the day after. When I finally get on board my vessel, I know that an intense emotion will come alive and I’ll know that it’s all real. Of course, I’m also looking forward to meeting the crew, the other trainees, and all the people I will spend an unforgettable week with. No doubt about it.

What are you least looking forward to? I have nothing bad in mind – no fears, no worries. I am so ready for anything to happen.

What skills do you think you’ll learn? I expect to learn as much as possible regarding everything related to life on board. Including setting sails, tying knots, sailing in all wind conditions, spotting stars, and even more than that. Friendship, multicultural gatherings, and getting together with other people.

How are you raising funds to cover the costs? Curently, I am working on a fundraising project. A friendly, local shop in my town made me some unique clothing and textiles featuring my project and trip. So far, I have short and long scarves and small shopping bags – all textile and all locally made. Soon, I’ll have some more to sell to my friends. I’ve also met with local radio and media to promote my awesome project. I already have a first big sponsor, and I’m looking forward to reaching more smaller ones.

What would you say to someone thinking about taking part? Just go. Don’t just look at your dream – grab it like an apple from a tree. Just go!

How did you first hear about the event? Firstly from and then from I read all about it, then sent emails asking for more information and for help to find a ship.

How has taking part in sail training changed you? I promise I will let you know soon! I am writing and sharing everything about my trip on Facebook. But more than that, I have a big project planned – to write a real novel – real journey diaries with plenty of poetry and writing and feelings and everything. It’s almost all set. At first, of course, it will be in French, but I will translate it. The language of the sea and friendship is universal.

Nicholas Smith (Bermuda)

RDV Trainee Nicholas McLeod-Smith

How old are you?  22 years old. I was born in 1994 in Bermuda.

Have you sailed before? Yes, every summer I went to Sailing Camp and I went across the Atlantic on the local training sloop, Spirit of Bermuda. I sailed from James Town, Virginia to Bermuda.

Why did you apply to take part in the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta? For the adventure, to become more worldly, and to experience different cultures and communities.

How do you feel about the challenge of sailing? I love that even though it’s hard work, it’s fun work, because no two days are the same and you are constantly learning and growing.

What are you most looking forward to? Meeting people and seeing new places, doing activities I wouldn’t normally have an opportunity to experience, and trying things outside my normal comfort zone.

What are you least looking forward to?  Stormy weather. Although it can be nerve wracking, it’ll be fun and exciting.

What skills do you think you’ll learn? Sailing and leadership skills and how to work and live with other people from all around the world.

How are you raising funds to cover the costs? Working double shifts on the front desk and as night auditor at the hotel where I work in Bermuda, whenever possible. I’ve also applied for sailing bursaries at local sailing clubs on the island.

What would you say to someone thinking about taking part? Let’s go! If not now, when? You get to explore the world and it’s something you would never do on your own, so why not take this opportunity to try something different?

Which vessels will you be sailing on? Or which would you like to sail on? I want to be on big three-masted schooner ships, so I can climb up the rigging and have the whole sailing experience. For example, ships like Christian Radich, Wylde Swan, and Gulden Leeuw.

Worried About Cost?

Don’t be. There’s plenty of help available for young people who want to take part in sail training. For example, you could apply for a bursary or take part in fundraising to cover your own costs (like the young trainees in this blog post). Check out our Support section for more information.

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What’s Next?

Want to get involved with the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta? Check out our event page for more information. You can book your place directly with a participating vessel, or if you’d like help, simply email our friendly team on, who can make recommendations, answer questions and process your booking for you.

(Editor: Responses have been edited for length and clarity.)