Richmond teenager Anya Brown has had an experience of a lifetime after taking part in the Tall Ships Race as a sail trainee.
The 15-year-old, who goes to school in Hartlepool, docked in the port at 9.30am this morning aboard Wylde Swan, the world’s largest top sail schooner.
It took two days and 19 hours to make the crossing to Hartlepool from Den Helder in the Netherlands.
Her place with organisers Sail Training International was secured through Hartlepool Council following sponsorship by Richmondshire-based automotive consultancy MotorVise.
She is one of 40 sailing trainees aboard 37 vessels arriving in Hartlepool, which include 13 of the biggest Class A ships. More than 50 different nations are represented in the international event.
Built in 1920, the Dutch-registered Wylde Swan is 62m long and a mast height of 43m and a hull speed of 15 knots.
Anya, who is a member of her school’s sailing club, said: “It was the experience of a lifetime, not only to be part of the Wylde Swan crew but to have competed in the Tall Ships Race. It was really exciting, and a dream come true.
“I’ve learnt so much being aboard the schooner, which was a whole new level compared to the sailing dinghies I’m more familiar with.
“I’ve made some lifelong friends and the reception from all those people who turned up to greet us was amazing. It’s something I’ll never forget, and I’d like to thank MotorVise for giving me this amazing opportunity through their sponsorship.”
Abbie Morton, sales manager at MotorVise said: “We were inspired by Anya’s passion for sailing and were pleased to make her dream of being part of the Tall Ships Race a reality.”