Scouts groups often take part in The Tall Ships Races but this year 70 scouts from 11 Scouting Districts around the Hartlepool area joined together to sail on seven vessels on race two from Kristiansand back to Hartlepool.
The 70 Scouts aged between 15 and 18 years, together with 10 leaders, all from the North East of England, sailed on Faramir, Offshore Scout, Ocean Scout, Provident, Challenger 2, Thermopylae Clipper and Moosk. A few of the Scouts sailed Faramir out to Kristiansand to join the Races and then took part in the race itself for a total of 17 days at sea. The rest rest joined their vessels in Kristiansand. None of the youngsters had sailed before.
Stephen Barnes, event leader for the group, said that this was an excellent opportunity for the Scouts to experience something different. "They had a variety of weather conditions during the race to Hartlepool which allowed the Scouts to get a good feeling for sailing. All of them now have their competent crew certificate and we hope some will want to take it further. In fact one youngster who sailed on Moosk, Matthew Wetherley, from West Newcastle, has enjoyed it so much that he has already signed up to take part in the ASTO race in October."
In 2005, 40 Scouts took part in The Tall Ships Races when they visited Newcastle and following that experience they made a DVD. It was this DVD that the Scouting Association took around to the 11 Scouting Districts to seek applications. Each Scout was encouraged to raise some of the money needed through their own fundraising efforts, with the help of the group. The rest was raised through corporate sponsorship from International Yacht Paint, Northumbria University and Cowan Transport, amongst others.