A multi-cultural, sea-faring festival has begun in Varna, Bulgaria, with the aim of promoting peace and goodwill between nations - the SCF Black Sea Tall Ships Regatta.
Bulgarian Olympic Rowing Champion Rumyana Neikova officially pronounced the SCF Black Sea Tall Ships Regatta in Varna 'Open' at a ceremony attended by local dignitaries, crews from the ships and members of the public.
Earlier in the ceremony, the Mayor of Varna, Ivan Portnih, offered a warm and gracious welcome to everyone.
Robin Snouck-Hurgronje, Race Chairman, Sail Training International replied, "On behalf of the ships of the Regatta fleet, it is wonderful to be back here in Varna. I wish everyone a wonderful and safe race to Novorossiysk, Russia."
Also during the Opening Ceremony, Gregoire Richez, Commercial Director of the event sponsor, South Stream, congratulated winners of their recent competition, who have all won a berth place on Running on Waves (Malta) for the cruise in company between Novorossiysk and Sochi.
Most of the fleet are now in port, with the final ship, Sedov (Russia), expected to arrive by Thursday morning (1 May). Sedov is not only the oldest ship of the fleet, she is the largest sail training ship in the world.
Most of the ships were open for visitors today, many of whom had travelled to Varna especially to view them.
Seventeen sail training vessels, including one Ukranian and seven Russian ships have come to the region to race from Varna, Bulgaria to Novorossiysk in Russia before cruising to Sochi, Russia, from where they will race the final leg to Constanta in Romania.
Photo: Nadezhda (Russia) alongside in Varna - one of four Russian Class A Tall Ships making maritime history by sailing and racing together for the first time in the SCF Black Sea Tall Ships Regatta.
- ends -
About Sovcomflot (SCF)
SCF is the lead sponsor of The SCF Black Sea Tall Ships Regatta, 30 April – 27 May 2014, and was previously sponsor of The Tall Ships Races 2009. Sovcomflot Group is Russia's largest shipping company and one of the world's leading energy transporters.
Its mission is to be the leading international energy shipping company, offering a full range of seaborne energy solutions to its customers, based on advanced shipping technologies and innovations, achieving long-term sustainability of growth and profits through a socially responsible industrial shipping model.
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.