1 day until the Tall Ships sail into town!! ONE day! I’ve signed up to volunteer, it’s an event I don’t want to miss so I thought why not just throw myself into it and get involved. I applied through Volunteer now about 5 months ago, had an interview and assigned my role. – Liaison Officer.
My training session was a few weeks back, we found out what will be expected of us and given an overview of the facilities in place and the layout of the site. We have been assigned a ship for the duration and will be responsible for liaising between the captain, his/her crew and the organisers. This could involve anything from signing up the crew for tours of Northern Ireland, ordering groceries and other supplies, or maybe just advising them on sights to see on dry land. All very glamorous! I’ve also completed the World Host Ambassador training so will be wearing my little WHA pin with pride!
While I’m running around like a blue-arsed fly, Moon Monkeys Productions will be following a few of us volunteers about for their documentary. BBC NI are also producing a documentary on various people involved in the Tall Ships so they’ll be with me at some stage too! I’ve also featured in the Belfast Vibe weekly magazine (article here) and had my picture taken for Volunteer Week and Stena Line – sponsors of the volunteers. Ah sure I like to get about!
To get me into the Tall Ship spirit I took a trip on the Class A Morgenster when it sailed into Northern Ireland for the Sea Bangor Festival. The 1919 brig headed out into the lough where passengers got involved in raising the huge sails and even steering the historical vessel. Coming back to harbour the winds took hold, with the vessel tilting to one side, things began to get a little dramatic when the rope to one of the jib sails broke! But the expert crew and trainees on board rectified the problem in no time. Such skill!
I’ve signed up for a shift each day of the festival – total FOMO (fear of missing out!). I was anxiously awaiting my assigned ship and in the past few days have been informed I’ll be liaising for the majestic Class A 3 masted barque – Europa. Absolutely delighted! She’ll be docked at Queens Quay just beside the Odyssey/SSE Arena, right in the heart of it all with Lavery’s live music tent, the main stage, market stalls and a fairground; I’m expecting it to be all hustle and bustle. On Sunday I’ll be on the HMS Northumberland, looking forward to exploring a totally contrasting ship!
Already I’ve been in touch with the Europa to introduce myself, they messaged back that they look forward to meeting me, followed shortly with a request on where they could buy a replacement printer for their broken one. Of course I already have tracked down a replacement and sent on the details of the store and how to get there!
I’ve picked up my volunteer kit, a sea of various shades of blue we’ll be a beacon for anyone. I’ve been assigned my ship… the outstandingly beautiful Europa, a three masted barque hailing from the Netherlands, and on Sunday I’ll be on HMS Northumberland. Can’t wait to meet the crew and get exploring them both! I’m delighted to be liaising with such fine vessels and looking forward to being involved in what is set to be the biggest event in Belfast this year. Stay tuned!