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Sunderland woman’s 25-year obsession with The Tall Ships Races

Naomi Austin whose passion for The Tall Ships Races stretches back 25 years.
Naomi Austin whose passion for The Tall Ships Races stretches back 25 years.

A Sunderland lecturer is continuing her 25-year love of The Tall Ships Races by planning a commemorative book and an exhibition.

Naomi Austin, senior lecturer in Fashion Product and Promotion at the University of Sunderland, first got involved when she was a sail trainee for the 1993 race in Newcastle.

When the Tall Ships Race comes to Sunderland in 2018 it’ll be 25 years to the day that I was just off Roker pier on the Sir Winston Churchill hanging onto the yard arms for dear life and being shown how to sail a ship.

Naomi Austin

Now she’s set to play her part in Tall Ships Sunderland 2018 by launching a fully illustrated book and exhibition, The Call of the Sea.

It will focus on the shipbuilding heritage of Sunderland and the history of the Tall Ships Races.

She said: “When the Tall Ships Race comes to Sunderland in 2018 it’ll be 25 years to the day that I was just off Roker Pier on the Sir Winston Churchill, hanging onto the yardarms for dear life and being shown how to sail.

“I celebrated my birthday in the middle of the North Sea with a crust of bread with candles on it!”

Since then, she’s been a ship liaison officer in Newcastle 2005, Hartlepool 2010 and Blyth 2016.

To make a pledge to the Call of the Sea project, go to https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-call- of-the- sea-book- history/x/17363354.

Naomi’s love of The Tall Ships will continue in 2018.

She has just heard that she will be taking part in the first race of Tall Ships Sunderland. She will sail with the crew of the German ship Alexander Von Humboldt II, from Sunderland to Esjberg, in Denmark.

For information about becoming a Sail Trainee, go to www.tallshipssunderland.com or email TallShipsProjectOffice@sunderland.gov.uk.

l Chloe’s Tall Ships adventure – Pages 24 &49