Setting sail for success

Black Diamond skipper Calvin Whitehand preparing the boat for The Tall Ships Races

Black Diamond skipper Calvin Whitehand preparing the boat for The Tall Ships Races

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A TALL ship skipper was today putting the finishing touches to his ocean racer as he prepares for another season on the waves.

Calvin Whitehand is six days away from setting off for this year’s Tall Ships Races which start in Waterford, in Ireland, on Thursday, June 30.

He is the skipper of the Black Diamond of Durham which sails each year out of Hartlepool.

The 45ft Bowman Corsair Ocean Racer-type class C ship has a crew of nine youngsters who gain sailing experience by joining the magnificent vessel.

Calvin, 29, from Hartlepool, said: “They are all from places such as Hartlepool and Middlesbrough this year.

“We will be setting off next Monday and we have one or two minor repairs to do between now and then.

“All in all, though, the boat is in good nick and the crew has mostly sailed before. We have a pretty good chance this year.”

The ship achieved impressive results in last year’s races.

It won the Communications Prize for the vessel which, in the opinion of the communications officers and race committee, contributed most to the communications schedule in The Tall Ships Races.

It was also placed second overall in its category as a class C ship from its performance on corrected time throughout the races.

Calvin is hoping for similar success this year.

The first official leg of the races sees ships stay in Waterford from Thursday, June 30, to Sunday, July 3.

Ships then race to Greenock, in Scotland, where they will stay from Saturday, July 9, to Tuesday, July 12.

The race entrants will then cruise to Lerwick, in the Shetland Isles, where they will spend four days from Thursday, July 21, to Sunday, July 24.

They will then race from Lerwick to Stavanger, in Norway, for a four-day stay from Thursday, July 28, to Sunday, July 31.

Race three takes the competitors from Stavanger to Halmstad in Sweden where they remain from Friday, August 5, to Monday, August 8.