A TEENAGER from near Easingwold is taking part this week in a record-breaking Tall Ships Regatta from Falmouth to Royal Greenwich.

Joshua Robertshaw, 17, of Huby, is one of 280 young people from a wide range of backgrounds involved in the adventure of a lifetime on UK Sail Training vessels.

He is on board Queen Galadriel, operated by the Cirdan Sailing Trust, part of a 44-strong fleet which crossed the start line on Sunday after lining up for a spectacular Parade of Sail in Falmouth Bay, which attracted unprecedented crowds and spectator craft.

Speaking before he set off, the Easingwold School pupil said he had sailed before but nothing could compare with this experience.

"I'm looking forward to the overall experience of being on a historic boat, but I think going on watch in the middle of the night in the cold and rain will be the biggest challenge for me," he said.

Almost half of the vessels competing in the regatta are members of the Association of Sail Training Organisations (ASTO), the UK’s Sail Training umbrella organisation.

There are 18 people on board Queen Galadriel, 16 of whom are trainees like Joshua. The ship was built in 1937 at Svenborg in Denmark, where she traded as a cargo vessel around the coasts of Denmark and Norway, but returned to service in May 2004 after a major refit to continue her important role in working with young people.

Joshua is due to arrive by today in London, where his parents plan to meet him, after he and other ASTO trainees from across the fleet meet their patron, the Countess of Wessex.

Lucy Gross, general manager of ASTO, said: “The trainees taking part in the regatta will find out first hand what they can achieve when they push themselves beyond their comfort zone. It is an experience they will remember for the rest of their lives and will give them invaluable skills and experience.

“We know that Sail Training can make an important difference to young people’s lives when they return ashore. The message that comes back week in and week out from our ASTO members is that the Sail Training experience increases their confidence, communication skills and ability to work as a team, which can have a huge impact on all areas of their lives.”