It’s not just the ships that are booking in for the 2014 Falmouth Tall Ships Regatta
One of the world’s most spectacular maritime events is attracting vessels – and spectators – from across the globe with more than 35 magnificent sailing ships already signed up for this summer’s historic Falmouth to Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Regatta.
With the prospect of four days of colourful celebrations in the stunning Cornish host port from 28th to 31st August, hotels and holiday providers in the Falmouth area are reporting unprecedented early bookings ahead of this, the first ever internationally renowned Tall Ships Regatta to take place solely in English waters.
The 2008 Tall Ships event attracted over 100,000 visitors to Falmouth, with £12 million of direct expenditure generated for the local economy and media descending from across the world to cover the festivities.
The thousands who witnessed these magnificent vessels setting sail from Falmouth Harbour in 2008, escorted by a flotilla of hundreds of little ships and spectator craft, past Henry VIII’s twin castles into Falmouth Bay on the first leg of the Funchal 500 Tall Ships Regatta, will know just why the historic port will be inundated with visitors for this year’s Festival.
From the huge four-masted Portugese square-rigger Santa Maria Manuela among 9 of the mighty A Class Tall Ships taking part, to the Caribbean-based ketch Ebb Tide to the little gaff cutter Eve of St Mawes – the list goes on. New signings in the next few weeks will include some of the giants of the ocean, all eager to take part in what will be the biggest international sailing event in the South West of England in 2014.
“People all over the world know what’s coming and how amazing this event will be,” says Steve Matta from the Fal River Visitor Information Centre. “Our centre’s normally pretty quiet at this time of year, but for weeks now we’ve been getting endless enquiries from all over the place – Australia, Canada and beyond – and some of the B&B’s in Falmouth are full already.”
For many this will be the chance not just to breathe in maritime history as they join the celebrations aboard the ships and around the iconic harbour town – but to become part of the Regatta itself as trainee crew-members. Budding sailors of all ages and abilities are signing up for the experience of a lifetime and will play an active part in an epic race from Falmouth to the Isle of Wight and finally sailing up the Thames for further festivities in majestic Royal Greenwich.
Eighteen-year-old Siri Taxbro from Norway, summing up her experience of sail training, says, “I felt like I’d seen more of the world in a couple of weeks than I’d seen in 18 years. The friendships, the people, the mood, the crew, the food, the experiences – everything thrilled me.”
Sam Groom, Festivals and Events Manager at Visit Cornwall, Cornwall Development Company’s tourism service, also headed the Falmouth Tall Ships organising team six years ago: “We know from 2008 and the meticulous planning that went into it that this year will be enormous. The event has a huge amount of public and private sector support and we’ve been building on the successful partnerships and long-term friendships that were formed in 2008 to make 2014 an even greater success!”
Image: Packet Media