2013 Sultan Qaboos Trophy: won by STA Finland

18 November 2013

2013 Sultan Qaboos Trophy: won by STA Finland
The Sultan Qaboos Trophy for outstanding services to sail training for young people was presented this year to Sail Training Association Finland on the occasion of the organisation’s 40th anniversary. 

The trophy, a gift from His Majesty the Sultan of Oman, was presented by His Excellency Khalid S. Ba’Omar, Ambassador for the Sultanate to Germany and the Nordic Countries, and Commodore Mahfodh Bin Hamood Bin Mohamed Al-Wahaibi, Director General of the Royal Navy of Oman, at the concluding ceremonies of Sail Training International’s 2013 annual international tall ships and sail training conference in Aalborg, Denmark on 16 November. 

The trophy was donated to Sail Training International in 2011 together with funding from the Royal Navy of Oman to help 100 deserving young people from around the world take part in STI’s tall ships races and regattas every year.

“Receiving the Sultan Qaboos Trophy is of course a great honour for our organisation”, says Stefan Abrahamsson, Managing Director of STA Finland. “Our two ships, Helena and Varine, take more than a thousand young people to sea every year. Winning this prestigious award will be a great encouragement to our many volunteers crew and staff to continue with the work we do.”

At the same prize giving ceremony, the Sail Training International Loyalty Trophy was presented to Shabab Oman (‘Youth of Oman’) for her participation in The Tall Ships Races. The ship has participated ten times since 1986 and won the race’s prestigious ‘Friendship Trophy’ on every occasion. The Loyalty Trophy was presented to Commander Mohammed Saleh Al Habsi of the Royal Navy of Oman by STI Chairman Doug Prothero. 

Paul Bishop, Race Director said, “Shabab Oman's exciting replacement is due to be launched next summer so it is highly appropriate that the 2013 Loyalty Trophy goes to her.”

Other awards

Sail Training International’s other awards recognise a wider range of individuals and organisations that have made a significant contribution to sail training, particularly during the past year.

Young Sail Trainer of the Year
-  Tomasz Andraszewicz
Tomasz competed in this year’s Tall Ships Races in the Baltic as a captain of the Polish yacht Urtica at just 21 years of age. Despite his young age he is an experienced sailor having participated in three Tall Ships Races. During this time he has been an outstanding example with his responsible, calm and thoughtful leadership. Award donated by Tom Gotchberg.

Young Sail Training Volunteer of the Year 
- Ailish Parham (awarded accepted by Peter Campbell, Chairman of the Swan Trust and Sail Training Shetland)

Ailish became involved with the Swan Trust after a defining moment on a stormy North Sea crossing at the age of 16 where she rose to the challenge and impressed all on board. Her experience encouraged her to become a very active volunteer with the Trust and it soon became apparent to the Skipper and Trustees that she was an exceptional volunteer who appeared to have experience and understanding well beyond her 17 years. She was nominated by the Swan Trust for the skills she has demonstrated and the dedication she has shown to sail training in such a short time. Award donated by the late Janka Bielak.

Sail Trainer of the Year (professional, over 25)
- Captain Sarah Robinson (award accepted by Steve Moss, STI country representative for Australia).

Captain Sarah Robinson started aboard T S Royalist aged 14 and went on to sail aboard the Endeavour replica from UK to America where she worked her way up from trainee to second officer. After passing her STCW deck officer certificates at Warsash Nautical College she returned to Endeavour for two years as part of the full time relief crew and then went on to join Leeuwin II as Chief Officer - then a stint as Chief Officer aboard Spirit of Bermuda - before returning to Leeuwin II as Captain.

In the time she has been in command of Leeuwin II thousands of young Western Australian young people have benefitted from sailing with her and left the ship enriched. Amongst these have been young people who are ‘at risk’ and trainees who have sensory and intellectual limitations. She undertakes her work in a very friendly and approachable manner, and always with a brilliant sense of humour. Award donated by the family and friends of the late Captain Paul Canter and is awarded to a professional sail trainer.

Sail Training Volunteer of the Year
- Robyn Elkington (award accepted by Steve Moss, STI country representative for Australia)

Presented to a volunteer who has made an extraordinary contribution to the organisation they serve Robyn is the longest serving volunteer with the Australian organisation, South Passage – Adventure Under Sail, having started since its incorporation in 1992. 

During this time she has fulfilled virtually every role within the association including serving on the management committee, being a sailing master, a watch leader, a crew recruiter, a maintenance coordinator, an office administrator, a marketing coordinator and a cook. Her enthusiasm for the ideals of sail training has been immensely valued including her seven years as an AUSTA board member. She has developed to be the glue that holds the organisation together.  Award donated by the Black Pearl Sail Training Trust in the US in memory of Barclay Warburton III, founder of the American Sail Training Association.

The Sail Training Organisation of the Year (small vessel)
- Tecla, The Netherlands

This award goes to an organisation that operates a smaller sail training vessel and demonstrates excellence in ‘innovation’ and ‘best practice’ in sail training for young people.  Tecla is a family-owned and run vessel that has been participating in Tall Ships Races and Regattas since 2008 and has carried out some inspiring sail training. During the tens of thousands of miles that she has sailed with sail training crews she has not only demonstrated excellence in seamanship but her operators have shown great vision and courageous thinking in her voyage programmes having taken part in the Trans-Atlantic Tall Ships Challenge in 2009, the Historical Seas Tall Ships Races in 2010 and a round the world voyage that took in the Sydney to Auckland Tall ships Regatta last month. She is currently en route to Cape Horn.  Award donated by friends of the late Vicki Scott.

The Sail Training Organisation of the Year  (large vessel)
- Thor Heyerdahl (Germany) (award collected by Volker Klose (STAG Chairman) and Lena Makler, STI Trustee)

This award goes to a Class A ship that was converted from a cargo-sailing ship into a three-masted Topsail schooner 1979 and 1983 and since then has been in active service for youth education. With its history of almost 25 years of teaching and educating young people aboard, this ship is known as a "pioneer" of experiential education and has been a role model for many similar sailing projects. More than 25,000 young people have travelled the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and as far as across the Atlantic Ocean towards America aboard her. 

Aboard,  people are being prepared to meet the demands a complex and modern society confronts them with. It is their objective to encourage young people to think and to act for themselves, enabling them to realise that they are capable of achieving more than they had initially imagined.  Award donated by Rear Admiral Rothsay Swan.


The Boston Teapot Trophy
- Cuauhtemoc (Mexico)  
The Boston Teapot Trophy is awarded to the ship which, at any time between 1 October and 30 September, covers the greatest distance in any period of 124hrs with a young sail training crew on board. 

The trophy will be officially awarded to Cuauhtemoc at our Naval Attaches reception in London in January 2014 for covering 1,189 nautical miles measured by great circle distance.  Worthy runners-up who also achieved impressive mileages were: Statsraad Lehmkuhl, Wylde Swan, Sorlandet and Gulden Leeuw. 

Host Port Trophy
- Szczecin, Poland
This award was first introduced in 2004 and was donated personally by Nigel Rowe, Patron, Sail Training International. Szczecin recruited the largest number of trainees and ran a great marketing campaign that reached many thousands of young people in its region and recruited and funded 185 trainees for The Tall Ships Races. 

Janka Bielak Medal 
- Nigel Wright, New Zealand (award accepted by Stephen Fisher, Chairman Spirit of Adventure Trust)

- Gunn von Trepka, Norway (award accepted by Bjarne Ugland, STI country representative for Norway)

Janka was Polish by birth, spent much of the Second World War as a girl in prison camps before eventually fleeing after the war to Britain. In the 1970s, during the Cold War, she almost single-handedly persuaded the Russian, Polish and other Eastern European ships to join our fleet for the summer races. The Janka Bielak Medal is awarded to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to international understanding and friendship through sail training and we are delighted to be able to present this special award to two remarkable individuals who have followed in her footsteps.

Paul Bishop, Race Director, Sail Training International said, “Nigel did a great job in the first international Tall Ships Regatta in the southern hemisphere last month. He and his crew led the international fleet from the Bay of Islands to Auckland via Great Barrier Island setting up an informal, but excellent crew programme. It was a team effort but behind every excellent team is an excellent leader.
“Gunn is another person who has made an outstanding contribution to international understanding and friendship through sail training over many years. She has been a sail training Class B skipper; a member of the sailing committee, a Trustee for STI and the Tall Ships Races T-shirt distributer.”

Photo (l-r): Commodore Mahfodh Bin Hamood Bin Mohamed Al-Wahaibi, Stefan Abrahamsson, His Excellency Khalid S. Ba’Omar and Commander Mohammed Saleh Al Habsi.

- ends –

For more information contact Sally Titmus, Communications and Marketing Manager, Sail Training International, Charles House, Gosport Marina, Mumby Road, Gosport, Hampshire, UK  PO12 1AH  Tel: +44 (0) 23 9258 6367   Email: sally.titmus@sailtraininginternational.org

Editor’s notes:

What is sail training?
Sail Training is an adventure activity, which includes far more than sailing instruction. Participants are required to confront demanding challenges, both physical and emotional. It is an activity that inspires self-confidence and personal responsibility. It promotes an acceptance of others, whatever their social or cultural backgrounds, and develops a willingness to take controlled risks. Those who undertake Sail Training on Tall Ships generally find it a positive life-changing experience.

About Sail Training International (STI)
STI is the international voice of Sail Training, a registered charity (not-for-profit organisation), which has worldwide membership and activities. Its purpose is the development and education of young people through the Sail Training experience, regardless of nationality, culture, religion, gender or social background. It organises the annual Tall Ship Races and other international Tall Ship sailing events. STI members are 29 national Sail Training organisations around the world and STI’s head office is in Gosport, Hampshire, UK.

The organisation was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2007 for its work in promoting international understanding and friendship.

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