Tall Ships America Presents 17 Student Scholarships

On June 22nd, Tall Ships America presented scholarships to 17 middle and high school students. These scholarships will make it possible for these students to spend from one to two weeks sailing on tall ships. The idea is to further the Tall Ships America mission of encouraging character building through sail training, promoting education under sail and promoting sail training to the North American public.

The scholarships were awarded to students who submitted essays explaining why they wanted to sail aboard a tall ship. The essay focus on the student’s desire to ship out on these vessels ties in with Tall Ships America’s hope that these students will act as passionate  ambassadors for tall ships and sailing training. 

The scholarship winners will be aboard the vessels Fritha, Picton Castle and Lynx when they enter Portland Harbor during the parade of sail for Tall Ships Portland 2015. We got the chance to speak to some of these great kids, check out what they have to say!


Image from WGME 13 

Image from WGME 13 

Badar Omar is a student at Deering High School in Portland. His father is an engineer on a fishing boat, and he has always felt a connection to the ocean, even though he lacks sailing experience. He decided to apply for the scholarship program because he knew it would be an exciting adventure, and we at Tall Ships Portland think that sailing on a tall ship as a first sail is a great way to get his feet wet. Badar will be sailing on Picton Castle from July 7 to 19th, as it travels from Greenport, N.Y. back here to Portland.

Q: Given that you don’t have a lot of sailing experience, what part of sailing on a Tall Ship are you most excited about?

A: Getting close to the other people on the ship, getting to know these people in a restricted place 

Q: Do you have a favorite type of vessel?

A: I love big, tall ships. They make me think of the history with the ocean in a place like Portland.

Q: Do you think you have a future in the maritime field? 

A: I love Portland, it has a strong connection to the ocean. I don’t know if I want to do something involved in the ocean, but I’m interested in the history here in Portland


Alden Siepert, a rising freshman at Cape Elizabeth High School, is an experienced sailor with seven years of sailing under his belt. His passion for sailing comes in part from his family, who sail regularly. He will be spending July 12th to 19th aboard Fritha, as it sails from its home port in Fairhaven. Mass. back here to Portland for Tall Ships Portland 2015.

Q: Do you think you have a future in the maritime industry? 

A: Maybe, I’m thinking about it. Sailing will always be a hobby of mine

Q: Do you have a favorite type of vessel?

A: I really enjoy sailing 420s and J24. 


Peter DiNinno is also a rising freshman Cape Elizabeth High School, and like Alden, he has sailing experience. His love of ships and an interest in Cape Elizabeth High’s sailing team motivated him to apply for the Tall Ships America Scholarships. Like Alden, he will be sailing aboard Fritha.

Q: Is the maritime industry in your future? 

A: Possibly maritime, I’m a rising freshman in high school so I have some time to figure it out.

Q: What excites you most about your trip?

A: I think it will be very different from what I’ve experienced, I’m excited to see that. 

Q: Do you have a favorite type of vessel?

A: I’ve sailed on small boats, like 420s, so I’d say those are my favorite. 


Cully Richard is a student at Cape Elizabeth High School, who applied to the Tall Ships America scholarship after his parents saw an email about the program and brought it to his attention. It’s a good thing they did, because even though Cully has never sailed before, he thinks that the experience he will have on this ship will be a good first step into the world of. Cully is the only student of the 17 to sail aboard the full rig ship Oliver Hazard Perry, which will be welcoming him aboard in August, due to scheduling issues that prevented a July trip. Cully will be on the Oliver Hazard Perry from August 9th to 15th and will sail on a round trip voyage starting and ending in Newport R.I. 

Q: Given that you are new to sailing, what part of sailing on tall ship are you most excited about?

A: Meeting people on the ship, and getting the firsthand experience of being on a tall ship.

Q: Do you think you have a future in the maritime world?

A: I’m a rising sophomore in high school, so it might be a little early to tell, but I’m interested in engineering. 


Julien Peck is a student at Casco Bay High School in Portland. An experienced sailor after attending and enjoying sailing camp, Julien is looking forward to expanding his knowledge of sailing and becoming comfortable onboard a tall ship. Like Badar, Julien will be sailing on Picton Castle. 

Q: What is your favorite part of sailing?

A: The freedom of being out on the water. 

Q: Do you have a favorite type of vessel?

A: I’ve mainly sailed 420s, and I enjoy those the most, partly because they are a two person craft. 

Q: Do you think you have a future in the maritime field? 

A: I don’t know but I think I want to end up near the ocean. 

Below is a list of all the students who received a scholarship, their sponsors and the vessels they will be on.

Name Vessel Sponsor
Ally Stewart Picton Castle Allen Agency
Ayan Ahmed Picton Castle 58 Fore St/The Portland Company
Julien Peck Picton Castle Iberdrola USA
Naomi Radtke Rowe Picton Castle Iberdrola USA
Badar Omar Picton Castle MPX
Ray Nyarushatsi Picton Castle Epifanes NA
Xander Davenport Picton Castle Eimskip
Dan Morse Picton Castle Portland Press Herald
Nathan Robinson Fritha 58 Fore St/The Portland Company
Austin Cormier Fritha Iberdrola USA
Peter DiNinno Fritha MPX
Alden Siepert Fritha Allen Agency
Annah Rossvall Lynx Iberdrola USA
Zoe Evans Lynx Morgan Stanley Portland Office
Katie Friberg Lynx Morgan Stanley Portland Office
Daisy Furber Lynx WCSH
Cully Richard Oliver Hazard Perry Eimskip