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Sail Training International

Dana Dalicsek

For many young people, taking part in a sail training adventure is the experience of a lifetime. Lots of trainees tell us they’ve fallen in love with sailing, the sea, the teamwork, and the lifestyle… and that they don’t want it to come to an end. The good news is that it doesn’t have to.

There are lots of options available through our Tall Ships Races and Regattas, local events with our member National Sail Training Organisations, or through the many sail training organisations around the world. No matter the destination or the seas, young people learn invaluable social skills that will last a lifetime alongside key skills and learning opportunities that make a positive impact on the rest of their lives.

Dana’s Story

A shining example of the positive impact of a sail training voyage it the story of Dana Dalicsek. Dana has type 1 diabetes, a chronic auto-immune condition which requires careful day to day management and blood monitoring. He first experienced the transformative impact of sail training at The Tall Ships Races 2014 on board the Class A Tall Ship Sorlandet (Netherlands). The races, which that year visited Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway, left a life changing impact on Dana.


“Following the Tall Ships Races 2014, in 2016 I became the mate on board the R/V Ault. A two-mast sailing vessel that belongs to Ocean Research Project.

“We sailed up to the northern-most town in Greenland, one of the most northern-most towns in the world, Qaanaaq. The aim was to collect data for NASA, the Smithsonian, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, but we did it without the large research ships. Just four people on a sailboat.

“We navigated icebergs and pack ice and reached above 78 degrees north. The skipper was Matt Rutherford, who completed the first solo non-stop circumnavigation of the Americas.”

  • Blog Dana
    Image courtesy of Ocean Research Project.

During Dana’s Adventure

Recently, Dana explained how sail training gave him the opportunity to take part in this remarkable and unique experience.

“I took part in the Tall Ship Races in 2014 as a deck hand on board Sørlandet. I was instantly hooked on the great atmosphere and the friendly people that surround the races and the ships.

“I continued to sail on various boats until the opportunity arose through Sail Training International (STI) to participate in the voyage of the RNOV Clipper Shabab Oman II. We sailed around the Arabian Gulf for a month and had over a dozen nationalities on board. I represented Sail and Life Training Hungary (S.A.L.T.) and was given the opportunity to write an article in Marlinspike Magazine about our trip. This article then led to me getting the news about an open position with Ocean Research Project. I am now the mate on board the sailing research vessel Ault.

“Ocean Research Project is a non-profit organisation that carries out oceanographic research and surveying by using sailing vessels instead of large research ships. The R/V Ault is a steel hulled, two-mast cat-rigged schooner. Our voyage this year is along Greenland’s west coast, leading as far north as 78 degrees. We are measuring glacial calving, micro-plastic in Baffin Bay, the CO2 levels in the sea and water temperature and salinity, as well as mapping the seafloor in the largely uncharted Inglefjord near Thule.”

Throughout this project, Dana was able to put the sailing skills that he learned while sailing on board Tall Ships to use for a good cause – researching climate change. He is also contributing to education, through the project’s science blog and lectures in local secondary schools.

“It is a great challenge and adventure, navigating heavy ice and changing weather conditions in one of the most remote regions of the world. It is the polar opposite of the hot Arabian weather on board Shabab Oman II.

“Without the work of STI and S.A.L.T. Hungary, I would not have had these adventures. I hope others who think about taking part in future Tall Ships Races and Regattas will come away with as much inspiration and motivation as I did, and will not think twice about getting on board a Tall Ship to have a life-changing experience.”

“I hope others who think about taking part in future Tall Ships Races and Regattas will come away with as much inspiration and motivation as I did, and will not think twice about getting on board a Tall Ship to have a life-changing experience.”

Dana Dalicsek


Beyond the Tall Ships Races, Sail Training International works closely with the world’s sail training Tall Ships, national sail training organisations and host ports to help young people benefit from the sail training experience. In addition, we regularly organise seminars, fund research and publications relating to the benefits of experiential learning through sail training to young people, and much more.

Every year we continue to be moved, motivated and inspired by the difference participating in sail training makes to young people’s lives. We see young people from all environments, and particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, grow in confidence, rise to challenges, overcome fears, make lifelong friends and enjoy the adventure of a lifetime. Some of the young people we help go on to enjoy careers in the maritime sector whilst others draw on their experience to make their way in the world with their newly acquired confidence and skills.

As we approach our 65th year in an ever changing world, we would like to invite individuals and organisations who believe in young people and whose values resonate with ours to support the work we do.


Help us to continue our vital work in developing young people and promoting international friendship and understanding through a Virgin Just Giving donation.

Funding and Bursaries

Find out more about the different bursaries and funds we provide and how to apply.

The Tall Ships Races 2021 Update

Tall Ships Races International Ltd. and the Tall Ships Races 2021 Host Ports of Klaipeda, Tallinn and Szczecin, have jointly agreed to cancel The Tall Ships Races 2021.

The adventure starts here

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