Sailing off with top award for training

Grace Metcalfe receives her Young Sail Trainer of the Year award 2012.
Grace Metcalfe receives her Young Sail Trainer of the Year award 2012.

A NORTH Shields-based sailor has won an international award for her work developing young people through the adventure of sail training.

Grace Metcalfe, skipper of the 70-foot yacht James Cook, owned and operated by North Shields-based Ocean Youth Trust North, was awarded ‘Young Sail Trainer of the Year 2012’.

The recognition – given out by Sail Training International, organisers of the Tall Ships Race – is awarded to a professional sail trainer aged 26 and under who has demonstrated excellence in delivering training for young people at sea.

Grace travelled to Riga in Latvia as only the second British sailor ever to receive the prestigious prize.

The 26-year-old said: “I have been so busy preparing James Cook for its winter refit that I didn’t give a thought to winning any awards. I’m truly blown away by this.

“Sailing with OYT North lets me do what I love and I use that passion to inspire young people.

“It is wonderful to be recognised by my peers and promote the positive effect of sail training on young people’s lives.”

Grace first sailed with OYT North in 2003 but found the formal classroom education challenging as she suffers from dyslexia.

But the journey changed her life, and saw her progress from a disaffected teenager to a positive role model.

Steve Lennon, general manager of OYT North who nominated Grace, said: “Grace is a truly inspirational person and I am incredibly proud of all her achievements.”

For more about OYT North visit