Mark your calendar a year to the day for the voyage of a lifetime…One Year to go
This time next year, the sight of white sail tips cresting the horizon of Falmouth Bay will herald a landmark moment in history when two English ports will together host one of the biggest international sailing events for the first time ever.
The Falmouth to Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Regatta 2014 will see a fleet of up to 30 Tall Ships from around the world arrive in the historic port of Falmouth for three days of festivities from the 28th to 30th August, before the race start on the 31st. It is unusual for the start and finish ports of a Tall Ships Regatta to both be in one country, but the significant role that Falmouth and Royal Greenwich have played in maritime history means that for the first time ever, the race will take place solely in English waters.
The race to Royal Greenwich will see the ships crewed by hundreds of trainees aged 16-25 years old as part of a sail training adventure. For many this will be their first time at sea. As well as learning all aspects of sailing, they will be using their first Sail Training experience to help them learn about themselves, discover hidden strengths and talents and understand the value of working as a team.
Viewers gazing from any quayside, foreshore or high vantage point around Falmouth Harbour will enjoy a stunning vista with a sea of masts, rigging and spectacular ships, transporting the viewer back to centuries ago when ships like these plied the oceans during the Golden Age of Sail. These very ships, including a number of traditional large square-rigged vessels berthed at Queen’s Wharf in the Docks, will be open to the public. Their crews will welcome on board many thousands of visitors, giving them a sense of the sights, sounds and smells of life on-board these beautiful ships on which fortunes, careers and lives were won and lost.
Visitors to Falmouth will be in no doubt that the Tall Ships are in town with a variety of live music and street entertainment to assault the senses; exhibitions, markets and children’s activities to marvel at; as well as taking in the colourful ship’s crew parade through the town centre. A firework finale will herald the ships last day in port before the spectacular Parade of Sail and race start.
The Tall Ships will pass between Henry VIII’s twin Tudor castles of Pendennis and St Mawes in a magnificent Parade of Sail to the start line in Falmouth Bay before heading eastwards towards the English Channel. Ships will navigate a series of waypoints in the western approaches before heading for the finish line just off the Isle of Wight. The vessels will then have the opportunity to stop over briefly in French or English ports en route to the Capital. They will then cruise in company, before sailing up the iconic River Thames to the finish port of Royal Greenwich, where they will enjoy a further five days of celebrations.
The Cornish town secured its place thanks to the proven success of the Cutty Sark Tall Ships Race in 1998, and the Fuchal 500 Tall Ships Regatta in 2008, when Falmouth was the start port for the first leg of both races. This last event attracted over 100,000 visitors into the town and generated over £12 million for the local economy. Visitors travelled from all over the country to see the Tall Ships, increasing the average visitor spend significantly.
John Hick, Chairman of Falmouth Tall Ships Association, has spent more than 30 years successfully encouraging and supporting Tall Ship visits and races to the Port. He says: “We have this great opportunity again in Falmouth to bring many major sail training ships to Cornwall and show their crews the hospitality that is synonymous with the town. We are delighted to be chosen to be part of this prestigious race yet again.”
“You don’t need to be a seasoned sailor to feel moved by the sight of these incredible ships and from both a historic and geographical point of view Falmouth sets them off to perfection. It’s a wonderful chance to get a glimpse of what it is to live and work on board these historic vessels. The 2014 Falmouth to Greenwich Tall Ships Regatta is definitely a key diary date for sailing enthusiasts, budding historians and nautical novices alike.”