As Italy holds a day of mourning after yesterday's tragedy off Lampedusa, where hundreds of African migrants lost their lives after their boat caught fire and sank, the ships of the Regatta fleet are flying their ensigns at half mast as a mark of respect.
Today is the first official day of the La Spezia regatta and the final two vessels are due to arrive in port this morning - Alexander von Humboldt II (Germany) and Santa Maria Manuela (Portugal) - both impressive class A ships which will make wonderful viewing for the many spectators on the quayside.
The last of the fleet to arrive yesterday, around midnight, was local ship Pandora, winner of her class in Race One - Barcelona to Toulon.
Late into yesterday evening the pontoon around which the whole fleet are berthed, was buzzing with locals and crew members enjoying the festivities. Many ships will be open to visitors today and throughout the weekend.
"It's such a wonderful spectacle - having all the ships berthed around one pontoon is a very unusual occurrence for the tall ship fleet. It makes for a great atmosphere for the crews and also for the visitors" said Race Director Mike Bowles. "It is going to be a fantastic finale to the Regatta" added Race Chairman Chris Bickert.
pic: Alexandra von Humboldt II makes her makes her way into port to join the regatta
Full race results can be seen here (provisional results only)
Lycamobile - title sponsor of the Mediterranean Tall Ships Regatta
Gaastra - official clothing supplier to the Mediterranean Tall Ships Regatta
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A word from your sponsor
Lycamobile is the world’s favourite international SIM card. With over 30 million customers across 16 countries, it allows customers to benefit from fantastic, low rates to call their friends and family abroad.
Lycamobile is delighted to be sponsoring this year’s Lycamobile Mediterranean Tall Ships Regatta, with its mission to connect to global communities.
If you need to call your family and friends during the Regatta please look out for their stand space portside in Barcelona, Toulon and La Spezia.
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.
A two-minute film can be seen here.
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 Ship 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.