Harlingen, The Netherlands kicked off the start of The Tall Ships Races 2014 with a spectacular Parade of Sail into the harbour enjoyed by thousands of spectators.
Nineteen Tall Ships, led by Class A Wylde Swan (Netherlands) - just a small representation of the entire fleet - sailed into port this afternoon with a huge Frisian flag and playing music by the Makkumer Blues Brothers.
The day before, the arrival of Bark Europa (Netherlands), in full sail, drew large crowds as she enjoyed a rousing homecoming as she returned from her recent world tour.
In total seventy eight vessels have entered The Tall Ships Races 2014, representing fifteen different nationalities and carrying around 6,000 trainees and crew during the course of the entire event.
Cor Boots, Harlingen’s Project Manager said, “The residents of Harlingen have been looking forward to greeting the vessels to this beautiful historical city. This is the first time the Tall Ships have come to Harlingen and the largest event in Friesland this year, with an estimated 350,00 visitors expected. An exceptional number for a town which has around 15,000 residents.
“We are all looking forward to an unforgettable few days and the town is very proud to greet the fleet.”
Paul Bishop, Race Director, Sail Training international said. "The new trainees arriving to board their vessels over the next few days will have a fantastic time here. Many will be nervous about embarking on their first ever sailing adventure, but Harlingen knows how to look after boats and crews.
"The most important element of this whole event is introducing sail training to young people from different nationalities to learn, not only how to sail, but how to live and work together in what for many will be new and challenging conditions. It's a very special experience and Harlingen is giving them a wonderful welcome."
The Tall Ships Races 2014: ports and race dates
Harlingen, The Netherlands - Thurs 3 to Sun 6 July
Fredrikstad, Norway - Sat 12 to Tues 15 July
Bergen, Norway - Thurs 24 to Sun 27 July
Esbjerg, Denmark - Sat 2 to Tues 5 August
World Heritage site commemoration
The race coincides with the entry of the Danish part of the Wadden Sea into the UNESCO World Heritage List - so the entire Wadden Sea is now on this prestigious list.
A special event took place in Harlingen today (Thursday 3 July) to mark this special connection between the Netherlands and Denmark and trade relations between the two countries.
Historically, Harlingen tiles were centuries ago transported to Denmark and today tiles were loaded on board Alexander von Humboldt (Germany) to be transported to Esbjerg as part of The Tall Ships Races 2024.
Representatives of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Danish Embassy, the Association Municipalities Sea coast, the town of Harlingen and Harlingen Pottery and Tile Factory all took part in a special tile loading ceremony. In Esbjerg Danish they will be ceremoniously handed over to the coastal municipalities and the Wadden Sea National Park.
See a daily galleries of photos from the event on the Tall Ships Races Facebook
page, by Valery Vasilevskiy.
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For further information contact Sally Titmus, Communications and Marketing Manager, Sail Training International on +44 (0)23 9258 6367.
About Sail Training International (STI)
STI is the international voice of Sail Training, a registered charity (not-for-profit organisation), which has worldwide membership and activities. Its purpose is the development and education of young people through the Sail Training experience, regardless of nationality, culture, religion, gender or social background. It organises the annual Tall Ships Races and other international Tall Ship sailing events. STI members are 29 national Sail Training organisations around the world and STI’s head office is in Gosport, Hampshire, UK.
The organisation was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2007 for its work in promoting international understanding and friendship www.sailtraininginternational.org
What is sail training?
Sail Training is an adventure activity, which includes far more than sailing instruction. Participants are required to confront demanding challenges, both physical and emotional. It is an activity that inspires self-confidence and personal responsibility. It promotes an acceptance of others, whatever their social or cultural backgrounds, and develops a willingness to take controlled risks. Those who undertake Sail Training on Tall Ships generally find it a positive life-changing experience.
For more information about the event visit Sail Training International