The Tall Ships' Races

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The Tall Ships' Races are races for sail training "tall ships" (sailing ships). The races are designed to encourage international friendship and training for young people in the art of sailing. The races are held annually in European waters and consists of two racing legs of several hundred nautical miles, and a "cruise in company" between the legs. Over one half (fifty-percent) of the crew of each ship participating in the races must consist of young people.

Between 1973 and 2003 the races were known as The Cutty Sark Tall Ships' Races, having been sponsored by Cutty Sark whisky. Since 2004 the races have been supported by The City, Province, and Port of Antwerp.

Tall ships

The phrase "tall ship" was adopted to describe the participating sailing vessels. It comes from Poet Laureate John Masefield poem Sea Fever;[citation needed]

I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.

Participating vessels are manned by a largely cadet or trainee crew who are partaking in sail training, 50 percent of which must be aged between 15–25 years of age and who do not need any previous experience. Thus, tall ship does not describe a specific type of sailing vessel, but rather a monohull sailing vessel of at least 9.4 metres (30 ft) that is conducting sail training and education under sail voyages. Participating ships range from yachts to the large square-rigged sail training ships run by charities, schools and navies of many countries.

The race

The first Tall Ships' race was held in 1956. It was a race of 20 of the world's remaining large sailing ships organized by Bernard Morgan, a London lawyer. The race was from Torquay, Devon to Lisbon, and was meant to be a last farewell to the era of the great sailing ships. Public interest was so intense, however, that race organizers founded the Sail Training International association to direct the planning of future events. Since then Tall Ships' Races have occurred annually in various parts of the world, with millions of spectators. Today, the race attracts more than a hundred ships, among these some of the largest sailing ships in existence. The 50th Anniversary Tall Ships' Races took place during July and August, 2006, and was started by the patron, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who also started the first race in 1956.[1]

Future Races

  • 2010:

Race One starts in Antwerp (Belgium) (Saturday 10 July - Tuesday 13 July) to Aalborg (Denmark) (Wednesday 21 July - Saturday 24 July).

Cruise in company to Kristiansand (Norway) (Thursday 29 July - Sunday 1 August).

Race Two is from Kristiansand to Hartlepool (England) (Saturday 7 August - Tuesday 10 August).

  • 2011:

Race One starts in Waterford (Ireland) (Thursday 30 June - Sunday 3 July) to Greenock (Scotland) (Saturday 9 July - Tuesday 12 July).

Cruise in company to Lerwick (Shetland) (Thursday 21 July - Sunday 24 July).

Race Two from Shetland to Stavanger (Norway) (Thursday 28 July - Sun 31 July).

Race Three is from Stavanger to Halmstad (Sweden) (Friday 5 August - Monday 8 August).

  • 2012:

Race One starts in Saint Malo (France) (Thursday 5 July to Sunday 8 July) to Lisbon (Portugal) (Saturday 19 July to Sun 22 July).

Race Two is from Lisbon to Cadiz (Spain) (Thursday 26 July to Sunday 29 July).

Cruise in company to A Coruna (Spain) (Friday 10 August to Monday 13 August).

Race Three from A Coruna to Dublin (Ireland) (Thursday 23 August to Sunday 26 August).

  • 2013:

Race One starts in Arhus (Denmark) to Helsinki (Finland).

Cruise in company to Riga (Latvia).

Race Two from Riga to Szczecin (Poland)

All port dates are to be announced.

Previous Races

1994 Gdynia race logo on a t-shirt
  • 2009 Trans-Atlantic: Vigo (Spain) - Tenerife (Canary Islands) - Bermuda - Charleston (USA) - Boston (USA) - Halifax (Canada) - Belfast (Northern Ireland)
  • 2009 Baltic: Gdynia (Poland) - St Petersburg (Russia) - Turku (Finland) - Klaipeda (Lithuania)
  • 2008: Liverpool (England) - Måløy (Norway) - Bergen (Norway) - Den Helder (Netherlands)
  • 2007 Baltic: Aarhus (Denmark) - Kotka (Finland) - Stockholm (Sweden) - Szczecin (Poland)
  • 2007 Mediterranean: Barcelona (Spain) - Genoa (Italy) - Toulon (France) - Alicante (Spain)
  • 2006: Saint Malo (France) - Lisbon (Portugal) - Cádiz (Spain) - La Coruña (Spain) - Antwerp (Belgium)
  • 2005: Waterford (Ireland) - Cherbourg-Octeville (France) - Newcastle-Gateshead (England) - Fredrikstad (Norway) - Torbay (England) - Santander (Spain)
  • 2004: Antwerp (Belgium) - Aalborg (Denmark) - Stavanger (Norway) - Cuxhaven (Germany)
  • 2003: Gdynia (Poland) - Turku (Finland) - Riga (Latvia) - Travemünde (Germany)
  • 2002: Alicante (Spain) - Málaga (Spain) - La Coruña (Spain) - Santander (Spain) - Antwerp (Belgium)
  • 2001: Antwerp (Belgium) - Ålesund (Norway) - Bergen (Norway) - Esbjerg (Denmark)

Sail Training International


Sail Training International (STI) is the international association of some twenty-one national organisations devoted to promoting "the education and development of young people of all nationalities, religions and social backgrounds, through sail training". Besides organising The Tall Ships' Races, STI is the leading provider of races and events, conferences and seminars, publications, research and services for the international sail training community.

Some ships that have participated



  • Harry Bruce, Tall Ships: an Odyssey (Toronto, 2000)
  • American Sail Training Association, Sail Tall Ships (Newport, 2000)
  • Rigel Crockett, Fair Wind and Plenty of Ithello

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
[[Commons: Category:Tall Ships' Races

| Tall Ships' Races


See also

da:The Tall Ships' Races de:Tall Ships’ Races es:Regata de veleros de mástiles altos eo:Konkursoj de la Altaj Ŝipoj fr:Tall Ships' Races lt:The Tall Ships' Races nl:Tall Ships' Races no:The Tall Ships’ Races nn:Tall Ships’ Race pl:Tall Ships' Races fi:The Tall Ships' Races sv:The Tall Ships' Races