Emma is ready to set sail

Emma Skelton �Edward Byrne Photography INBL1521-285EB
Emma Skelton �Edward Byrne Photography INBL1521-285EB
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Dromore girl Emma Skelton is ready to set sail on the high seas this summer when she will join the Tall Ships Race when the fleet visit Belfast.

Emma, 25, will be a mentor on board the vessel, where she will help local trainees who will also be joining the race.

The Tall Ships are returning to Belfast from July 2 – 5, with Belfast being the home port for the first race in the 2015 series.

This is the third time Belfast has welcomed the Tall Ships Race.

When the fleet leaves Belfast on July 5, Emma will be on board the Morgenster.

Almost 80 trainees, and their mentors, from all over Northern Ireland will be on board various ships as they take part in the first leg of the race, which starts off the coast of Portrush on Monday July 6 and finishes in Alesund in Norway.

“I’m excited and a wee bit nervous,” Emma said. “But I’m looking forward to it.

“I found out about it on Facebook and just applied for it. I’ve never done anything like this, no ship training, the most is I’ve been out in a canoe.

“I went through the process and had interviews in Belfast and was selected.

“I think it’s really about the adventure of it, I can’t wait.”

Emma and her fellow mentors and trainees will board the Morgenster in Belfast as they take part in the first leg of the race.

The ships will depart en masse from Belfast at 12 noon on Sunday July 5, when they will head towards Bangor, where they will turn towards Whitehead.

The Tall Ships Race itself will start off Portrush at 10am on Monday July 6, from where it will head to Norway.

“I think we’ll be 10 days on board the ship,” Emma stated.

“There are a few festivals to welcome the ships, when we reach Norway and here, on the Friday night, before we board on the Saturday.”

Emma, who is more used to working in an office in Hillsborough rather than getting her sea legs steady, will help out on the ship, hoisting sails, steering and generally helping the crew during the journey.

“My family, friends and colleagues are all excited for me,” Emma commented.

“My immediate family will have the opportunity to come onto the ship and look around before we leave.

“It will be a fantastic experience.”