The fleet said their goodbyes to Antwerp this afternoon with approximately two hundred thousand visitors lining the quaysides and river banks. The ships made their way steadily out into the river throughout the day having worked their way through the various bridges and lock systems. With perfect weather conditions for sailing, many vessels managed to set a number of sails, which made the event all the more spectacular.
The final ship to slip her mooring was Dewaruci (Indonesia) who, having entertained the crowds since they arrived, left in great style with the band playing Auld Lang Syne while the cadets waved and danced on the yards. When they finally moved away from the quay a huge spontaneous cheer went up from the crowd.
The fleet are now making their way towards the race start area, approximately 15 miles NW of Zeebrugge. The race start is scheduled for 1400hrs GMT/UTC and reports will follow here twice daily.
To see more images from The Tall Ships Races, click here.
The Tall Ships Races is presented by Szczecin and organised by Sail Training International.