The age of sail as an epoch may be over, but there is still a fascination with the graceful tall ships that still sail our coasts and oceans. They some how seem to inspire feelings of romance and adventure.
This summer is no exception, as many celebrations that will take place along the coasts of America will allow residents the chance to admire at least one of these swans of the ocean.
In the region of the Great Lakes, eager captains will respond to a maritime war that for 200 years has been absent. In Miami, an impressive Spanish vessel will sail into port to rendezvous with the 500th birthday celebration. The West Coast of the U.S. will see the biggest tall ship festival, which is expecting more than 200,000 visitors.
The Clipper William Mason
William Pierce Stubbs
Both now, and in the past, these boats are and were sailed by sailors who had no fear, and manoeuvred themselves manually without restraint up and down masts that tower 30 metres high into the sky. This is no easy feat as the ship pitches and rolls in the ocean swells and waves. The crew has to synchronize perfectly in order to release the enormous sails that have a width of 15 metres. In a good wind, these sails can confidently move a ship weighing in at 400 tonnes through the water at modest speeds up to 30 kph.
The masters and crew of the tall ships of old were challengers and researchers, as they unravelled the mystery of the shape of the Earth, which was for thousands of years thought to be flat.
There is often a dark side to many things and they are often shrouded in secrecy. The slave trade soon became one of these. The great ships attempted to help in the building of nations by snatching people from faraway lands and taking them to a land that needed developing. These times have never been forgotten.
Today, with their displays of elegance, they show that wind power has, and will always be, a source of renewable energy. The courage and determination of captains and their crew succeeded in opening the door to world travel, which encouraged further explorers to unearth what was on the other side of the world.
There are 5 events taking place this summer off the coasts of America.
The highlight will most likely be the 1813 Battle of Lake Erie, which-celebrates its bicentennial re-enactment. This is to be the first opportunity in 200 years that so many ships will fire black gunpowder cannons against one another. It is the re enacting of the battle waged against the British, which let the U.S.A. secure its present frontier with Canada. The impressive “Sorlandt” from Norway will be present at the event. It is 86 years old and 210 feet in length.
Miami will be welcoming the Juan Sebastian de Elcano. The length of this Spanish boat spans a U.S. football field, at 120 metres. It acts as a training ship for navy midshipmen in the Spanish Naval academy. It was launched in 1927 and has since circumnavigated the world 10 times. The tall ship will show its presence in Miami as a way of celebrating 500 years since the discovery of what is now termed the Sunshine State. It will be in the vicinity in early May.
There are many more tall ships that will be attending these events and others up and down the two coasts of the U.S.A. With the constant discussions over renewable resources of energy, tall ships may never sink back into the past.
The “Christian Radich”, a Norwegian tall ship built in 1937, departed Las Palmas in the Canary Islands off the West Coast of Africa last week as part of the annual Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), for the Caribbean. It is one of a number of sailing vessels in the rally which name Oslo as a home port.
In 1939, the ship sailed the Atlantic on a visit to the World Trade Fair, which was on show in New York. This is when the ship first became famous.
After her return to Norway in 1939, she became part of the Norwegian Navy. Before the Second World War was finally over, the Christian Radich was bombed and sunk in the port of Flensburg. After the war, she was not left in her watery grave, but was salvaged and towed to the city of Kiel and a minesweeper was used to protect her. In 1947, she was completely restored.
In 2005, the Christian Radich was given the status as a training ship.
There are now 30 crew members fully employed running the tall ship.
The name Christian Radich originates from Simeon Christian Radich, who managed a number of sawmills in Norway as a very successful business person.
During 1985, an 8 year old from Chile sent a letter to Kjell Thorsen, then the captain of the tall ship, and informed him that his name was also Christian Radich. He was given a free visit to Oslo in 1987 to take part in the 50th anniversary of the tall ship.
The ship is certainly the oldest and most magnificent of the sailing ships seen under sail off Las Palmas in preparation for the Atlantic crossing to the Caribbean.
In 2010, the Christian Radich won the Tall Ships Race, but last transited the Atlantic Ocean in 2001. On this year’s crossing she will have 90 passengers onboard, including 15 who work as fulltime crew. A large number of crew is essential to assist in managing the 1,360 square metres of sail area and all 27 sails. If all of the 200 ropes on board were laid out in a long line, the length would reach an incredible 9 kilometres and, not surprisingly, each one has its own name.
The ship leaves an amazing history in its wake as a sail training ship. From 1999, the ship has been involved in chartering, sightseeing tours, summertime visits to overseas ports, with trainees who pay while on board.
The Christian Radich reached fame after its appearance in the movie “Windjammer” in 1957 and its regular appearance in the series shown on BBC TV called “The Onedin Line”. This was in the 1970s and featured as a ship owned by James Onedin, who was one of the world’s largest shipping magnates in the 1800s involved in global trade following the industrialisation of Europe.
The first ever round the world voyage on a tall ship carrying disabled sailors as crew has set off from Southampton in England.
The ship is the “Lord Nelson”, named after the half blind British admiral who led the British fleet at Trafalgar, so the ship is suitably named to carry the collection of people with a variety of disabilities on its mission.
The disabilities range from blindness and multiple sclerosis to paraplegia and the ship has been fitted out to help cater for the full range of abilities that the crew will be able to demonstrate.
The Battle of Trafalgar and the Victo…
Not only are the abilities and disabilities very varied, so are the ages. One of the oldest crew members who signed up for the 23 month voyage, which is expected to travel 50,000 miles around the world, is Beryl Jones at 69 years old. When asked for her reasons for joining the trip, she said that her great grandfather had been an ocean going captain and thought that she was following the tradition he had kept.
She said that the thought of doing all the normal chores as well as changing sails and spying on the horizon from the crow’s nest was an exciting thought.
The “Lord Nelson” is skippered by a female captain, Barbara Campbell, and is part of the Jubilee Trust, which has set out to administer a purpose built ship that can carry able bodied as well as disabled sailors alike.
The “Lord Nelson” is 55 metres long and will visit more than 30 countries on its historic voyage on all 7 continents. Some of the key ports on its itinerary will include Rio De Janeiro, Cape Town, Kochi in India, Singapore, Sydney, Auckland and Ushuaia. The last named stop, at the Southern end of Argentina, will also be the port of embarcation for a side trip to Antarctica. The Antarctic explorer, Skip Novak, who has made dozens of trips to the Antarctic Peninsula in his own sailing yacht will be piloting the “Lord Nelson” on the trip to the frozen South.
The Jubilee Trust has also been sponsored and supported by a number of celebrities, including Peter Snow, the BBC commentator and global explorer, Sarah Outen.
Not all of the crew have had sailing experience, but they are all determined to enjoy the experience of sailing on a tall ship and discover how their disabilities can be challenged to the full. One crew member is a paratrooper, retired from active service in Afghanistan after losing a leg in an explosion. He said that the voyage allowed him to complete an important part of his rehabilitation process as the voyage would provide him with the opportunity to recover his self confidence.
Another is a parish constable from the Channel Island of Jersey. He is an active sailor back at home, and also suffers from multiple sclerosis. He is looking forward both to the sailing in the great ship, but also to the sense of camaraderie, which such a mixed crew is likely to engender.
Probably the only tall ship that has an all female professional crew and used for sail training and leadership building in a programme called “Sisters in Sail”, the STV Unicorn has had a remarkable history, starting life as an unassuming Dutch fishing trawler and finishing life as a glorious sailing vessel on the Atlantic coast of the USA and the Great Lakes of Canada.
Great Lakes in North America
The Unicorn has not only been transformed in shape and size several times, it has changed its name to match. Starting off life as the “Deo Volente 1”, meaning “God Willing”, it was built in Holland in 1947 out of scrap German U-boat steel from World War 2 and for just over 30 years trawled the North Atlantic fishing grounds. The strongly built vessel with its 1500 hp engine changed ownership and name several times.
By 1979 it had gone through a remarkable metamorphosis, being bought by another Dutch owner and renamed the “Eenhoorn”, the Dutch name for “Unicorn” and converted into an elegant sailing ship. Under its new suit of sails it became a regular visitor to warmer and less turbulent waters in the Mediterranean.
The Haunted U-Boat
As a topsail schooner, with square rig and huge bowsprit, the “Eenhoorn” became the “Unicorn” at last, registered in the Channel Islands and sailed to the Caribbean with a British owner, serving as a charter boat and occasional floating base for treasure seeking in the West Indies. Again, the boat changed hands but continued to be used for charter out of Grenada under new American ownership. It then had a near disaster being involved in a collision on the way to the American East Coast with a chemical tanker on its way back from a charter season. It was towed into Norfolk Harbour on the American coast for repair. The cost of the repair was more than could be regained form the insured value so this meant another sale and a new Canadian owner, Captain Prothero, who refitted not only the hull, but the rig and the motor as well and used it as a sail training vessel on the Great Lakes and the Caribbean.
The “Unicorn”, or rather the “True North or Toronto” as it was then called, became well known at tall ship festivals and ceremonies around the North American east coast and became a member of ASTA or the American Sail Training Association.
The final chapter began in 1999, when the current owners, Dawn and Johnathan Santamaria bought the “True North”, which went through another major refit and was again renamed the “Unicorn”. The ship is now still sailed with Dawn and her four daughters with its crew of professional female sailors right through the Great lakes and East Coast as a not for profit sail foundation dedicated to enhancing the lives of girls and women through a leadership and empowerment programme.
The Unicorn throughout its 63 year history has retained its original strength and beauty and has given hundreds of people a livelihood and passion for sailing like few other vessels.
Constructed in 1896 at Nantes’ Chantiers Adolphe Dubigeon, ‘the Belem’ is a three-masted French sailing vessel, which was officially put in service on June 10 of the same year. She embarked on her first journey on July 31, 1896 and left its home port of Nantes for South American cities of Montevideo and Belem-its Brazilian namesake.
Named after the town of Bethlehem, the Belem was originally designed as a cargo vessel and she was used for the physical importation of sugarcane, cocoa and coffee from the Caribbean, Brazil and French Guiana respectively.
It was her good luck that she came out unscathed from the demolition that took place on 8 May 1902 in Saint-Pierre de la Martinique, due to the volcanic eruption of Mount Pelée. At that time, the Belem’s Captain Julien Chauvelon couldn’t find a place in Saint Pierre to anchor the tall ship, as the city’s roads were completely occupied by numerous vessels and boats. In an effort to save the Belem from Mount Pelée’s wrath, the now enraged Captain anchored her at a distant beach.
In 1914, she was bought by the Duke of Westminster Hugh Grosvenor, who transformed her from a cargo ship to a deluxe yacht and added a pair of additional Bolinder Diesel engines 300 HP to the engine room.
After eight years of service to the Duke, the Belem came under the possession of Sir Arthur Ernest Guinness. The beer tycoon changed her name to the French word ‘Fantôme II’ and also renovated her rig. Sir Guinness was very fond of luxury yachts, evident by his nineteen-year long affiliation with Ireland’s Royal St. George Yacht Club, where he served as the Rear Commodore from 1921-1939. A year later, he returned to the club for a second spell under the capacity of Vice Commodore and remained there until a year before his death.
Sir Guinness’ most famous voyage on the Belem took place in 1923, when he took his four daughters Aileen, Maureen, and Oonagh on a world tour through Panama and Suez Canals. During this grand cruise, they also visited the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen. While approaching Yokohama, the Belem once again gave account of its good fortune in dodging catastrophes, when an earthquake severely destroyed the Japanese city and its harbor, but somehow, the barque suffered no major damages.
After Sir Guinness’ death, the Belem was acquired by a Venezian count Vittorio Cini in 1951. She had to go through another name change, as her new owner retitled her ‘Giorgio Cini’ in remembrance of his late son. The count used her as a sail training ship and after some rigorous years of service, she was retired and moored at the Venetian Island of San Giorgio Maggiore in 1965.
In 1972, the Italian law enforcement agencies tried to bring her back into her original barque rig form, but turned out to be financially unfeasible.
In 1979, she was finally returned to its home country of France after being used for nearly 65 years by non-French personnel and authorities. There, it was returned to its original condition and assigned the new role of a sail training tall ship- a job it still performs.
Named after the historical Italian explorer of the fifteenth century, Amerigo Vespucci is the Italian Navy’s tall ship, which is home ported in Livorno, where it is currently serving as a school ship.
In 1925, Italian Navy, which was called Regia Marina until the Italian Republic came into being, commissioned the building of two tall ships, designed by Italian Navy Engineering Corps’ General Lieutenant Francesco Rotundi, who had based his designs on the 74-cannon ships of that time. The first one named ‘Cristoforo Colombo,’ served in the Regia Marina from 1928-1943. At the conclusion of World War II, it was transferred to the USSR, as per the post-war agreement and soon after the transfer, it was decommissioned.
Amerigo Vespucci- the second of the two was constructed at the Naples-based Naval Shipyard in 1930 and was officially launched for service a year later in 1931. It is a 331 feet long vessel, with a full rigged three-masted steel hull, which is 270.34 feet long itself. Its breadth is 51 feet, while it can carry weight up to 4146 tons. It can sail at a maximum speed of 10 knots, under the auxiliary diesel-electric propulsion power.
Amerigo Vespucci. CC Wikipedia
The vessel’s steel masts are 50, 54, and 43 meters tall, while it has a collection of 26 canvas sails, including, jibs, staysails and square sails. At the time of sail sailing, when sea climate is rough, Amerigo Vespucci can go as fast as 12 knots.
In order to stay in line with port regulations, only conventional hemp ropes are used, leaving Amerigo Vespucci as the only three-decked square rigger in operation in the world.
As a tribute to the two gun decks of the 18th century ships, which were the source of inspiration behind Vespucci’s design, two white stripes have been painted in her hull, to go with her full black body. However, there are only two 6pdr guns mounted on Vespucci’s deck, whose planks are made of teak wood and therefore, require replacement after every three years.
The tall ship’s stern and bow have been embellished with sophisticated decorations, including a figurehead stature of Amerigo Vespucci- the explorer.
Amerigo Vespucci has a standard staff comprising of 16 officers, 70 non-commissioned officers and 190 sailors. But the crew size swells up to 450 people during the summer, when it sets forward on Accademia Navale’s annual midshipmen journey.
The ship was originally equipped with 2-stroke 6-cylinder FIAT Q 426 engines, but they were replaced by two 4-stroke, 8-cylinder FIAT B 308 ESS diesel engines in 1964.
Apart from the seven year period of World War II, Vespucci has never been inactive. While her typical training areas are in Europe, she has also embarked on voyages to the Americas, with the highlight being her 2002 world voyage.
Denis Sullivan, a wooden, rigged schooner is part the United Nations Environment Program and belongs to the State of Wisconsin.
In 1991, Milwaukee residents and other state volunteers thought about building a tall ship for the first time. The purpose behind their attempt was to educate people about the Great Lakes. They also decided to make the ship they were going to construct, a platform for those who find it pleasant to delve into the unforeseen areas that lie scattered across the ocean.
The construction of the ship was completed after spending about one million volunteer hours. There were other several professional shipwrights besides ordinary workers who worked hard for the successful completion of the ship. Thus Denis Sullivan came into being in June 2000.
The first voyage took place in November 2000. From Milwaukee this beautifully constructed tall ship started its maiden voyage to Caribbean Ocean. She became the official flagship of the State of Wisconsin. The journey was really extraordinary as far as the exploration of the five Great Lakes, Caribbean and East Coast is concerned.
Denis Sullivan weighing 97 tons had a length of 137 feet overall and 98 feet on deck. The height comes to 95 feet. It carried two 180 HP auxiliary engines. 31 persons could be accommodated overnight and 60 persons on day sails, including the number of crews. There were shared toilets and showers. Storage facilities were limited. Denis Sullivan consisting of 10 crews had a mesmerizing power.
Denis Sullivan, designed by the inspiration of the Great Lakes cargo schooners of the 19th century, was provided with a raffee, a fore topsail triangular in shape. An efficient cargo carrier, it looked more beautiful in its construction and sailing procedure. Its rigging and deck arrangement were so well designed as to be a number one tall ship that she extremely differed from all other tall ships constructed at that time.
The usual construction technique of Great Lakes cargo schooners was not applied in the construction of Denis Sullivan. Usually the ships were built with flat bottom in order to minimize draft. Sailing in shallow water was quiet as a result of this type of construction. They carried a centerboard.
But Denis Sullivan was different from other construction work. Her deep hull and weighted keel gave her high stability during the voyage. Six feet four inches of head clearance facility made it entirely different from other tall ships. Thus Denis Sullivan entered deep into the minds of those who loved the sea.
If you watched Master and Commander or the Pirates of the Caribbean and fancied yourself at the helm on a Tall Ship, now is your chance! A few of the Tall Ships taking part in this summer’s Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge have berths available with some of them now offering discounted rates.
The famous British yacht Jolie Brise has a couple of places available on the Vigo to Tenerife leg open to anyone aged over 16 years. They also have one place spare on the transatlantic sector from Tenerife to Bermuda for a trainee aged from 16 to 25 years. Bursaries are available, so anyone who would like the rare chance to sail on Jolie Brise should contact them now.
The Dutch Tall Ship Tecla, which is owned and operated by a family, including their dog, has places available on all legs of the race, with discounts available. Only the final race from Halifax to Belfast has an age restriction of between 15 and 25 years.
Kaliakra, a beautiful Tall Ship from Bulgaria, also has a few places available with discounts available. This ship will have a number of different nationalities on board, although the main language will be English. Great for anyone who would like to experience some cultural exchange on the way.
For those that like to be closer to the water and want to experience a modern yacht, the fast and high performance yacht Xsaar, from Belgium, has a few berths available.
The race starts in Vigo, Spain (30 April – 3 May), from where the fleet will race to Tenerife, Canaries (14-17 May). The first Atlantic race will then take the fleet to Bermuda (12-15 June), and then on to Charleston, USA (25-29 June). The fleet will then wend their way up the east coast of the US to Boston (8-13 July) and then on to Halifax, Canada (16-20 July) before the final Atlantic crossing eastwards back to Belfast, UK (13-16 August).
Participants can take part in any one leg of the event, or multiple legs if time permits. No experience is necessary as all training will be given on board the ship. The only requirement is a spirit of adventure and the bottle to take on the challenge.
For further information contact
Corinne Hitching, Media Manager for Sail Training International.
FEELING ALL AT SEA?
CHANGE YOUR LIFE WITH A TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE
Many of are feeling a bit rudderless at the moment. Uncertainly about your job and life in general is very stressful and knowing so many others are in the same boat, is of little comfort. Life is never plain sailing but these difficult times are perfect for giving you the heads up to have a hard look at your life and figure out what you really want to be doing. It offers an opportunity to stop and take stock of your life. Have you been sailing too close to the wind? Drifting? Maybe life at the sharp end has taken its toll and you feel all at sea. If life has scuppered your chances of success and the wind has been taken out of your sails, then maybe it’s time to push the boat out and challenge yourself to see where your strengths really lie. It may seem like an odd thing to decide to do in times of trouble, but taking part in a Tall Ships Challenge, such as this summer’s race across the Atlantic, is a great way of finding your feet and putting you back on an even keel again. Sailing on a Tall Ship is well documented to provide life-changing experiences. By putting yourself on a Tall Ship with a group of other people, you are literally all in the same boat. You will be welcomed on board and get to learn the ropes together, find strengths and weaknesses you didn’t know you had, discover the true meaning of team-work, learn when to pipe down and when to speak up, realise when to cut and run and determine how best to weather the storm. On a Tall Ship you can nail your colours to the mast and work together with the crew to get the best out of your ship. You may occasionally need to batten down the hatches which could have you feeling under the weather, but you will get a square meal every day and even have the chance to sail three sheets to the wind, although this may not be recommended. On watch you may see some ships that pass in the night but the spirit of competition will be alive and well and by and large you will work to the bitter end to make sure your Tall Ship crosses the line before the others. You will enjoy watching the sun move over the yard arm, you may even meet someone whose cut of their jib you quite like, although don’t go overboard as it’s difficult to give anyone the slip while on board a ship. When your ship finally comes in, you will find you will have passed the test with flying colours and feel more shipshape than you ever have before. You will feel exhilarated by the experience, stronger and ready to cast yourself off into a new life, buoyed up, knowing that you can cope with life’s challenges and coast along into the future, leaving others in your wake. Sailing on a Tall Ship could well be the lifeline you need. If you’ve got the bottle, then the ships are ready and waiting. Ends Note to Editors:
The Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge is open to anyone from 15 years upwards and no experience of sailing is necessary or even desired. Tall Ships, classic boats and yachts will all be taking part in the event so there are berths available for anyone who has the spirit of adventure and wants to find themselves again. ‘Trainee’ crew members can chose to do one or more legs of the event. Prices vary depending on the leg and ship.
Host Port dates
Vigo (Spain): 30 April – 3 May Tenerife (Canary Islands): 14 May - 17 May Bermuda: 12 June - 15 June Charleston (USA): 25 June - 29 June Boston (USA): 8 July - 13 July Halifax (Canada): 16 July – 20 July Belfast (Northern Ireland): 13 August – 16 August
For more information, visit the website: www.tallshipsraces.org . Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Corinne Hitching, Media & Publications Manager, Sail Training International. Tel: +44 77641 83866, email: Corinne.email@example.com
On or about the first of May, 2010 the sail training ship, the Barque Picton Castle and her crew will set sail on a monumental 14-month voyage bound around the world. Up to 36 people from all walks of life will be accepted to join this tall ship for this challenging once in a lifetime opportunity—truly the ultimate voyage. These crew will dedicate themselves to seafaring under square-sail and to learning all they can from the ship, the ocean, new found friends on far flung islands, each other and themselves.
This voyage will take the ship and her crew over 30,000 blue-water, deep-sea miles circling the globe in fair winds and foul, pleasant trade-winds, calms and squalls. We will follow in the wake of great explorers and voyagers who came before us, sailing throughout the tropics, putting in at remote and storied ports of call. This voyage is expected to be the last world voyage of the Picton Castle under my command.
The experience of sailing on a Tall Ship has so inspired four youngsters from Bermuda that all of them would love to repeat the experience. Not only would they like to sail again on a Tall Ship but they’ve set their sights on taking part in the Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge next year and crossing the Atlantic to sail into Bermuda.
“It would be so cool to sail into Bermuda on a Tall Ship and have all our families watching us,” said William Halliday, 17, one of four youngsters who sailed on Christian Radich from Bergen to Den Helder. William went on to say that he now had renewed respect for his ancestors who had no choice but to travel by ship to reach the new world and settle in Bermuda. “It puts it all into a new light and makes you realise what the great explorers had to ensure,” he said.
1972 Bermuda Race Newport Rhode Islan…
Catharine Hay, 25, said she had watched friends take part in the previous Atlantic race in 2000 and was disappointed that she couldn’t also sail. When the chance came up this year to take part in The Tall Ships’ Races she said she jumped at the chance. “I saw something on facebook first of all and immediately wanted to know more,” said Catherine who had absolutely no experience of sailing at all before boarding the ship. “It was amazing to have such an international experience and to work in a team with people from other countries,” Catherine said, “sometimes we had to get up just after we’d gone to bed so we could help tack. It was exhausing at times!”
Christine Jack, 17, had heard about Christian Radich from a friend’s sister so when she saw an advert in the paper she was quick to apply. “We had to write a letter about why we wanted to take part and then were chosen from all the applicants, which was very exciting,” said Christine. “I got a bit seasick at the beginning but everyone was so kind and helpful and it disappeared after a day or two!”
Sarah Smith, 19, is the only one of the four that had ever sailed on a Tall Ship before having spent a term on Class Afloat, the Canadian School ship. “It was very different on board Christian Radich,” said Sarah, “so it didn’t really help me but I have fallen in love with setting sails and grab any opportunity to do more of it!”
Horseshoe Bay Beach Scene…
All of them said it only took a few days before they were getting the hang of the sails and the ropes and even managed to learn a bit of Norwegian. They all commented on the wonderful spirit that was on board, which they admit may have been helped by winning the race!
Their enthusiasm for sailing on a Tall Ship is so strong that any ships looking for crew to take part in the Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge should get in touch with them quickly!
Bergen’s own Tall Ship, Statsraad Lehmkuhl, led the Parade of Sail out of Bergen today after four days of festivities. From 8am this morning the ships had been undocking and leaving the harbour to wait in the outer bay for the parade of sail which started at 11am. The Commissioner of the City of Bergen, Monica Maeland, together with other dignatories, saluted the ships as they past and they in turn manned the yards, cheered and sounded their ship’s wistles to thank Bergen for their wonderful hospitality.
The fleet left the area with an escort of smaller vessels and a water cannon. They went under the Askøy Bridge, which was lined with people with a perfect view of the fleet as they departed.
Earlier in the morning rain had threatened but as the parade of sail got under way, even the sun came out to cheer the fleet on their way.
The fleet are now heading out to the race start area, which is some five miles off Hellisøy Lighthouse, some 45 miles from Bergen. The start will take place this evening at 1900 hours local time.
The official opening ceremony for The Tall Ships’ Races in Bergen took place last night at 1900 hrs on top of the tower at the Hotel Havnekontoret, which overlooks the harbour. Proceedings were started by a stirring song from local singer, Sigurd Sele, who is about to star in the production of Les Miserables in Bergen. Chief Commissioner of the City, Monica Mæland, then welcomed The Tall Ships’ Races fleet to the city and wished them all an enjoyable time while in the city.
Chairman of The Tall Ships’ Races 2008, Knut Western, then outlined to the watching crowds just what the event is about and how they had the ability to change lives through the experience of going to sea. He hoped many more people in Bergen would have the opportunity to sail on one of the ships in future races.
Crew from Statsraad Lehmkuhl, Bergen’s own Tall Ship, then sang shanty songs from along the yards. As the ship was berthed close to the tower, the crews’ voices sang out across the area, much to the delight of the crowd. Sigurd Sele then sang the Bergen anthem with many of the crowd joining in.
The captains of The Tall Ships’ Races fleet then walked the short distance to the Bergenhus Fortress where they were entained to a lavish dinner in the Hakonshall, a medieval hall with a high ceiling which was lit by candlelight. Bergen Mayor Gunnar Bakke, who hosted the dinner, welcomed the captains and said it was their pleasure to entertain them and hoped they would all return soon. Capitan Mario Carbajal Ramirez, captain of Cuauhtemoc thanked the city on behalf of the ships saying how honoured they were to be so warmly welcomed to the city.
Entertainment was provided by a sole drummer, whose sound reverberated around the hall, and a singer who sang two songs in a beautifully clear voice that was appreciated by everyone.
Two Tall Ships’ race series will be held during 2008 with over 100 Tall Ships anticipated to take part in the two events. Ports in the UK, Norway, the Netherlands, mainland Portugal and Madeira will play host to the events which provide an opportunity for total novices, as well as professional sailors, to sail as a crew member on the magnificent Tall Ships.
The challenge of being part of a team that is working to sail the ship and keep ahead of the competition makes these events one of the most exciting and adventurous ways to spend a holiday. Not only that, but the days in port are a riot of colour and action as can only happen when up to 100 vessels of all shapes and sizes jostle against the quayside and crews from some 50 different nations get together.
Sailing on a Tall Ship has been proven to be an exceptional way to help young people develop their character, understand the benefit of teamwork, find strengths they didn’t know they owned and creating the leaders of tomorrow. Many businesses have sponsored young people and members of their own staff to take part in The Tall Ships’ Races and reaped the rewards of motivated and inspired people.
To everyone that has ever taken part in a Tall Ships event there is little doubt that it has affected their life in many positive ways, not only because of the sailing experience but because of the cultural exchanges.
The Tall Ships that take part include some beautiful old originals, replicas and new builds, from four-masted classics to racing yachts. In all the ports, visitors will be welcome to board the ships while a tented village will be built up along the quaysides to keep everyone entertained.
The Tall Ships’ Races 2008
The annual Tall Ships’ Races, which is organised by Sail Training International and supported by the City, Port and Province of Antwerp, will start in Liverpool this year, with the fleet spending four days in the European Capital of Culture (Friday 18 – Monday 21 July). While in port, the international crews will have the chance to sample Liverpool’s cultural heritage and enjoy some specially organised sports and parties.
From Liverpool the ships will travel up to the north coast of Northern Ireland where the spectacular race start will take place on 23 July, five miles out from Lough Foyle. From there the crews will have their work cut out to sail the ships around the north of Scotland, with a choice of going east or west of the Outer Hebrides, then between the Orkney and Shetland Islands and across the North Sea to Maloy in Norway. This challenging race is anticipated to take up to ten days but the crews will be rewarded with a very warm Norwegian welcome in the charming little town of Maloy, which has a population of just 4,000 and is the smallest port ever to host the event. The Tall Ships fleet and crews will dominate the town for four days (1 – 4 August) with its magnificent backdrop of mountains and position at the end of a fjord.
Maloy will also offer the opportunity for many ships to change crews ready for what promises to be a very special cruise-in-company around the fjords before arriving in the more southerly Norwegian town of Bergen, where they will stay for four days (9 – 12 August). The town is surrounded by seven mountains and bordered by breathtaking fjords making it one of the most beautiful natural harbours in the world. Trainee and professional crews alike will again have wonderful opportunities to explore the area and get to know this world heritage site.
From Bergen the fleet will then compete in a second race, taking up to eight days, down to Den Helder in the Netherlands where a final four days of festivities will take place (20 – 23 August). The final port always holds a special place in the hearts of the crews as this is where the final prize-giving is held and the awarding of the coveted Friendship Trophy. This beautiful silver plate is awarded to the ship and crew that, in the eyes of the other ships’ crews, has done the most to promote friendship and understanding, the underlying principles for The Tall Ships’ Races.
Funchal 500 Tall Ships Regatta
The second Tall Ship event being held in 2008 is the Funchal 500 Tall Ships Regatta, which begins in Falmouth on the south coast of the UK. The Tall Ships will gather for four days (10 – 13 September) when the trainee and professional crews will again have the chance to enjoy some local hospitality before racing down to �lhavo in Portugal (20 – 23 September) and then race again to Funchal in Madeira (2-5 October) where the fleet will form part of year-long celebrations commemorating the 500th anniversary of Funchal’s founding and maritime heritage.
Both events are open to trainee crew members with or without sailing experience and for able bodied as well as the disabled. One of the key rules for The Tall Ships’ Races is that 50 percent of each ship’s crew must be aged between 15 and 25 years, making this a truly young people’s event.
Those interested in taking part should visit the event websites for further information on how to get on board.
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The visit of the Tenacious to Rouen marks the autumn for the Armada
As the superb line-up for the Armada 2008 steadily takes shape, the Armada Association invited the English three-master, the Tenacious, to make a friendly port call from September 17 to 19, 2007 to the banks of the Norman capital before its arrival in Rouen next July.
The 65-meter wooden tall ship has been completely designed to welcome mobility-impaired or visually impaired cadets: with doorplates written in Braille, a stowing system for wheelchairs, and on-board lifts, everything has been done so that the trainees, whatever their disability, can safely be part of the sailing world.
Since its launch in 2000, this three-master has already made more than 1,800 disabled cadets happy, thanks to the support of the JST Foundation (Jubilee Sailing Trust) of Southampton, which also runs the Lord Nelson, an English tall ship also dedicated to sailing for people with disabilities.
Five months after the marvellous port call of the Belem, like its French counterpart, the Tenacious moored alongside Emile Duchemin Quay, on the North bank, in front of the maritime museum.
With the arrival of the sailing ship, the Armada has set course for a new year of exciting events before the start of the festivities next July.
Prince William (arriving in Portsmouth 8th Sept 2007)
I’d been interested in tall ships for a few years before I went on my first voyage, and I’d been studying them mainly through the internet. Following that initial interest, I knew I needed to do the research in order to write as well considering I am also an aspiring fantasy writer. For a long time I’d wanted to sail on a tall ship to get the hands on experience for both of these things, but hadn’t been able to afford it. However, when my 21st birthday came in August 2007, that all changed.
My older brother asked me what I wanted for that birthday, and told me that he wanted to do something very memorable for me. I said that I would love to do a day sail on a tall ship, and would like to do it in Portsmouth so that I could visit HMS Victory as well. On my birthday, my brother surprised me with the paperwork that said I’d be sailing on a tall ship for a week from Barry in South Wales to Portsmouth. At first, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing or hearing, but the excitement soon settled in.
Roughly three weeks later when I came to do the voyage, of course I was nervous and afraid of embarrassing myself in front of others. For a long time I’d been an introvert and not very social. I didn’t have many friends that I could see on a regular basis as most of them worked a lot of the time or they lived a great distance away. Instead, I amazed myself. I got along with everyone and I settled in very quickly. I already had some knowledge of tall ships from my research online, but it wasn’t going to stand up to actually sailing on one and working as a member of the crew.
I sailed on the Tall Ships Youth Trust’s brig Prince William with other people of my age range, and loved every minute of it. I was a member of perhaps the most spontaneous and excitable watch on board; humour and laughter being the two main highlights of being with them. I actually started to feel sad when the voyage was rapidly coming to an end. What it taught me though was how to socialise better, how to be an effective team member, and how to live life to its full potential. I really felt empowered.
Since that voyage, I have sailed with the Jubilee Sailing Trust on board LORD NELSON (November 2007), and have also taken up volunteering for both of these trusts. The ocean calls me now, and every time I’m at the coast I long for the next time I’ll get to be out on it sailing on a tall ship. I’ve found a big part of myself in sailing on these magnificent vessels, and enjoy sharing my experiences with other people. For some people it’s a once in a lifetime experience, but for me it’s something I’m going to do continually as much as I can. I am now looking into short term maritime courses that I hope will allow me to take part in working with tall ships more. My next voyage is already arranged, and that will be in the Caribbean on board Stavros S Niarchos in April 2008.