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Sailing programme brings young people from all over the world to Scotland

A sailing programme for young people has brought 13 nations to the west of Scotland this spring.

The Our Isles and Oceans programme was established to help those aged between 18 and 35-years-old build confidence and combat anxiety, depression and loneliness during the pandemic.

Participants, known as “ambassadors”, have travelled to Scotland from all over Europe, the Middle East, the Americas, Africa and Australasia to learn how to sail.

Each week a new group of 10 work together onboard the Clipper Round the World racing yacht alongside experienced crew. They also sleep, cook for themselves and eat onboard the yacht during this time.

One of the ambassadors for the first week of the spring programme was Aras Zahir, who grew up in Iraq.

“The toughest moment is that we’ve got to leave – after being together for a few days, we were really like a family,” the Glasgow University student said.

Each group spent a week onboard the Clipper Round the World racing yacht. Supplied by Our Isles and Oceans.

Based out of Oban and Tobermory, the spring programme ran for four weeks and ends on Thursday, May 19.

The new sailors experienced tough winds and driving winds in the million pound vessel, but also learnt valuable new skills and built resilience.

The Scottish ambassador for the programme is 18-year-old Jonathan Donnelly, who experienced his last few years of high school during the pandemic.

“This has been my first big adventure since the pandemic and I won’t forget it, it’s been amazing,” he said.

“It has opened my eyes to a lot more; there’s more than just Glasgow, where I’m from.”

Applications open in summer 2022 for the next Our Isles and Oceans programme coming later this year.

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