Australian recognised as Sail Trainer of the Year

(December 19, 2013) – STS Leeuwin II Captain has been internationally recognised with the prestigious Sail Trainer of the year award for her role in the Leeuwin’s sail training program for young Western Australians.

Captain Robinson was announced as the winner during the International Sail Training Conference for 2013 held in Denmark recently; making her the only Australian to have won the prestigious award, to date.

The award is the highest accolade that can be achieved by a professional in the Sail Training industry, recognising a high performing individual over 25 that successfully delivers sail training programs.

Sarah Robinson developed a passion for tall ship sailing at the early age of 14, where like many of the young trainees she now helps train on Leeuwin voyages in the position of Captain; she sailed herself as a trainee on British Square Rigger T.S Royalist.

Leeuwin CEO Anne-Marie Archer said, “The Leeuwin’s main purpose is to inspire and challenge young people to realise their capabilities and reach their full potential. With Captain Sarah’s professional manner, years of experience and background in originally starting as a trainee in a sail training program herself, she is the perfect person to oversee Leeuwin’s sail training program.”

“Sarah’s role on the ship positively impacts on the Western Australian community and generates outcomes from youth that have long term benefits, taking the future members of society and teaching them the many life skills that will contribute to a better society.

“The Leeuwin and the wider Australian community is very fortunate to have her as a Captain, as she has inspired and had an impact both directly and indirectly on thousands of young people’s lives,” Ms Archer said.

In 2010 the Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation was internationally recognised as the leading Sail Training organisation of the year, demonstrating excellence in ‘innovation’ and ‘best practice’ in sail training for young people.

“The Foundation aspires to continuously improve its program and being recognised on the international platform is a wonderful endorsement of our efforts, “Ms Archer said.

The Foundation was also recently recognised closer to home for its Corporate Social Responsibility, in the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce Business awards for 2013.

Captain Sarah is no stranger to recognition, having also been awarded the Pride of Australia Medal for the Fair Go category for Western Australia this year.

In addition to her everyday responsibilities as Captain of the STS Leeuwin II including navigation, management of crew training, and ensuring safety standards are kept relevant and followed, Sarah is totally committed to the training and development not only of the trainees who come on board but also of the 10 volunteer crew and 4 permanent crew who sail with her.

Sarah has trained several people to levels where they can attend college and go on to pursue careers; whether that is becoming ships officers themselves or going on to get jobs on tall ships all around the world.

In response to her reasons behind choosing this often demanding lifestyle and line of work Captain Sarah Robinson said; “I choose it because I enjoy witnessing the growth in the young people that come on our voyages.”

“I consider myself a product of sail training and it has given me some amazing opportunities that I hope I can pass on to young people and open their eyes to what they can do if they put their mind to it and work hard.

“Going to sea is not for everyone but the skills people gain from a voyage are skills they need in everyday life,” she said.

Ashleigh Tapper reporting

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