The traditional Parade of Sail took place today, as the Irish Sea Regatta fleet said farewell to Liverpool after a wonderful few days which had exceeded the expectations of the organisers, with over 50,000 people visiting the quaysides over Friday and Saturday and very many more today.
Albert Dock was a hive of activity from early in the morning as stores were taken on board and final crew changes took place. The fleet began undocking at 1030hrs, moving from Albert Dock into Canning Dock to join the larger vessels.
When the Canning River Entrance opened 12 noon, the vessels made their way one by one out into the River Mersey, assembling down river for the start of the Parade, which is the traditional way of saying goodbye and thank you to a host port.
Led by local tug Brocklebank, the fleet took up a formation and sailed back along the Mersey, cheering, waving and blowing their horns at the crowds gathered on the quaysides waiting patiently to view them.
As the ships made their way up the river they moved in close to the shore to salute the many Merchant Seamen veterans, who were gathered near the cruise liner terminal following an earlier memorial service.
The ships then made their way further out towards the open sea and dispersed to follow their own routes away to their next destinations – some travelling back to their home ports after a long summer spent competing and enjoying the Tall Ships Races, others picking up new crews to carry on sail training voyages as their season continues. Some, like Pelican of London, are off to prepare for a long and exciting voyage to South America and Antarctica over the winter months.
We wish you all fair winds, wherever you may be heading….