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Stratford teenager sets sail for Tall Ships Races

A STRATFORD teenager is taking on the high seas as part of the world famous Tall Ships Races.

Callum O'Leary is one of eight young ASTO bursary-funded sailors who set sail from Sunderland on Saturday.

The 16-year-old boarded a UK Sail Training vessel on a four-day voyage to Esbjerg, Denmark.

Before he set sail, O’Leary said although he will miss being home in Stratford, when he arrived in north-east and joined the rest of the crew on board one of The Jubilee Sailing Trust’s vessels Lord Nelson, the excitement of heading across the North Sea began to build.

“I am double excited because I will be celebrating my 17 birthday onboard the ship this coming week," he said.

“This is my first time on a Tall Ship and I have no idea what is going to happen so it is all a bit scary really, completely out of my comfort zone.

“I think I will be surprised at how many new skills I learn. I know things will have to happen fast and on the spot.

"I am currently studying at Welbeck Defence College, so I will be joining the Navy as an officer.

"In that respect, I think this race will be really good training for my Naval career. Next year I have to go on a similar exercise on a Naval ship so this will provide an excellent stepping-stone to that.

“I would say if you get the opportunity to do this, go for it. So far I am really happy and absolutely so excited about the thought of going out to sea on a Tall Ship.”

The nine participating ASTO-member vessels will be part of the 52-strong fleet of Sail Training vessels competing in Tall Ships Races 2018, including some of the largest vessels of their type in the world.

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