For over 50 years Sail Training International has been organising Tall Ships Race events for those vessels engaged in providing sail training to young people (ages 15-25).
There are estimated to be about 1,000 vessels around the world working either full or part-time in sail training. Some of these vessels are adapted to specialise in providing places for trainees with physical or mental challenges which would normally preclude them from such adventure based activities, whilst a number of other vessels work with young people from socially or economically deprived backgrounds.
Many young people participating in our events describe it as making a real change in their lives. Academic research supports this, having identified its positive contribution to developing key life-skills in young people such as team work, increased self esteem and confidence, personal responsibility, leadership plus an awareness, greater understanding and respect for people from differing cultures and socio-economic backgrounds.
Each year over 50 different nationalities are represented within the trainee crews of our Northern Europe event alone, with around 8,000 young people participating in this single event.
Public interest and excitement in the Tall Ships fleet stopovers in host-ports is immense, with 2009 seeing more than 5.5 million visitors to the Northern Europe ports and also exceeding 5 million in our “Atlantic Challenge” event. Making our Tall Ships race events the world’s largest spectator attendance at any sports or exhibition event in the world.
Media coverage of these visits and events has increased exponentially each year, with the attendance of hundreds of journalists producing a staggering volume of hundreds of hours of TV coverage (including dedicated programming, video news blogs etc) as well as local, regional, national and international press .
The Tall Ships Race in Northern Europe attracts a fleet of 100 + vessels from more than 20 countries, typically visiting 4 – 5 host-ports in as many countries. Vessels range from 10 metre yachts, crewed by as few as 8-10 people, right up to the majestic square rigged ships of over 90 metres length hosting hundreds of young trainees.
The increase in interest and demand in Tall Ships and sail training events has enabled Sail Training International to respond by organising a number of exciting new events that will take place in geographic areas as diverse as The Mediterranean, Adriatic, North America and The Caribbean, alongside the well established North Sea and Baltic events