Emily Runciman is leading the way in encouraging more young people to take part in the North Sea Tall Ships Regatta.
The Northumberland College student recently acted as an ambassador for Northumberland County Council (NCC) on board the Black Diamond, which sailed from Hartlepool to Belfast in July 2015.
The month-long voyage was part of a training opportunity sponsored by NCC and saw Emily putting up sails, cooking, cleaning and dealing with severe weather at sea.
Emily, 17, of Ashington, learnt the skills required to sail the 10-berth 45-foot Bowman Corsair Ocean Racer and record her experiences along the way.
She enjoyed her time on board so much that she paid to stay on board the ship and support its trip from Belfast to Norway, where she was lucky enough to attend the Captain’s Dinner.
Emily said: “My confidence really grew when I was on board – as did my knowledge of seafaring, navigation, knot tying and cooking.
“I just didn’t know what to expect before I went on board, but it was a completely different experience – and really good!”
Emily will be taking part in the Tall Ships Regatta next summer when it sails from Blyth to Gothenburg, Sweden.
The former Saint Benet Biscop Catholic High School pupil is studying for a Diploma in Uniformed Public Services at the college’s new Military Academy, which is based at Kirkley Hall. She has ambitions to join the Royal Navy when she completes her studies.
Simon Chalk, Head of Sport, Outdoor Adventure and Military Academy, said: “It’s an amazing experience for young people.
“The experience helped Emily to develop independence through her involvement with members on the ship and taught her to be self-sufficient. Working with groups from different nations opened her eyes to the way different groups interact. It also helped her to appreciate everyone is different and the importance of language development. “
Andrew Tunnah, Coaching Development Manager for Northumberland Sport, has been tasked by NCC to recruit 50 young people, like Emily, to take part in the regatta and sail from Blyth to Sweden.