CHEK Upside: Salt Spring Island teen competing in Tall Ship races

Watch16-year-old William Acken will compete in the 2022 Tall Ships Races onboard the Dutch sailing ship the Morgenster.

At the age of 16, William Acken is a bit of an old soul.

“I do tend to work on a lot of things kind of in the old style, but I also like to add some modern flair to it,” says Acken.

As a child Acken was fascinated with books such as Treasure Island and its tales of adventure on the high seas.

“I really liked the idea of getting to explore, there’s sort of that looming sense of danger in the background as well,” says Acken.

So this summer Acken will look to foster his passion for adventure and history by competing in the 2022 Tall Ships Races, an annual event where ships sail to 4 European ports.

“It’s a set of races held by the Windseeker company where all the boats are tall ships and the start and finish line changes depending on which voyage you’re going on,” says Acken.

Acken will be onboard the Dutch sailing ship Morgenster as a trainee, performing various tasks.

“The students get to sort of alternate jobs, so I could one day be working on the ropes and the next day I work on cleaning and the next day I work on cooking,” says Acken.

While the event is technically a race, it is the journey that Acken is looking forward to the most.

“I’m not a huge fan of racing, I like watching the races, but I would prefer experience over winning,” says Acken.

The Tall Ships Races run from July 7 to Aug. 7. To help cover Aken’s entry fees, visit his GoFundMe page.

Cole Sorenson

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