Sail Training International is delighted to announce the five ports selected to host the annual Tall Ships Races in 2017, taking place across the Baltic Sea.
The 2017 host ports are:
• Halmstad, Sweden Friday 30 June – Monday 3 July
• Kotka, Finland Thursday 13 – Sunday 16 July
• Turku, Finland Thursday 20 – Sunday 23 July
• Klaipeda, Lithuania Saturday 29 July – Tuesday 1 August
• Szczecin, Poland Saturday 5 August – Tuesday 8 August
Between them they have experience of eleven Tall Ships Races and Regattas and are eager to welcome the international fleet.The international Tall Ships fleet will race from Halmstad to Kotka, Cruise-in-Company to Turku, race to Klaipeda and then enjoy a final race to Szczecin.
Knut Western, Chairman of Tall Ships Races (Europe) said, “All of our selected host ports for 2017 have previously hosted Tall Ships Races and Regattas; so they have already earned an excellent reputation for delivering our events.
“Over previous years they have all demonstrated their ability to look after sail training Tall Ships and put the development and education of young people, through the adventure of being at sea, at the heart of their bids.”
The municipality and city of Halmstad last welcomed The Tall Ships Races in 2011 and is the starting port for 2017.
This coastal city is located in the middle of Scandinavia’s most expansive region. It offers a variety of arts and entertainment, a charming town centre and a strong history of arranging successful events. The theme for the 2017 event will be Youth Culture and Integration and Halmstad Municipality will work with STA Sweden to develop opportunities for young people to sail aboard Swedish sailing ships.
Fredrik Geijer, Chief Executive Officer said, “The full city of Halmstad will be lined up to welcome the magnificent Tall Ships in 2017. We’ve done it before and we will host the start of The Tall Ships Races in 2017 with pride, and even better.”
Finland will celebrate its 100th anniversary of independence in 2017 and The Tall Ships’ Races in Kotka will be one of the festivities of the official programme. They previously hosted two Tall Ship Race events in 1992 and 2007.
Kotka is a city by the sea, located on the estuary of the river Kymijoki. It has long experience of arranging large-scale international events. The event will focus on the beautiful island of Kotkansaari in the centre of Kotka, and around the City Port. The whole quay area is currently being renovated and the area offers a combination of city centre, tranquil seaside beach walks, recreation and sports – all within walking distance.
Henry Lindelof, Kotka City Mayor said, "The fact that we were chosen to be the host port must be based on the success in arranging the event last time in 2007. The event lodged in the minds of both Sail Training International and the captains and sailors."
Kari Makkonen, Chief of Information of the City of Kotka, joined the negotiations at Sail Training International's annual conference last weekend. He said,
"With the City of Turku we have already agreed on working closely on marketing, to recruit volunteers and gain partners for the event.
“When The Tall Ships Races last visited Turku in 2009, nearly half a million visitors enjoyed the event. In Kotka in 2007 the number of visitors was around 300,000. With these facts we can estimate that the event in 2017 will attract an extensive amount of both national and international visitors. It will most probably be the largest public event in 2017 in Finland, celebrating the 100th anniversary of independence.”
Turku will be hosting the Races for the fourth time in 2017. In addition to three full-scale Tall Ships Race events in 1996, 2003 and 2009 they also organised a Regatta in 2011. In 2011 Turku was the European Capital of Culture and the port has a thousand-year history.
The ships' route through the archipelago is spectacular before being brought right into the middle of Turku on the banks of the River Aura.
Aleksi Randell, Turku City Mayor said, “Receiving The Tall Ships Races event to Turku strengthens our profile as a maritime city and organiser of maritime events.
“Turku considers The Tall Ships Races event and sail training activities as an important part of an active city, vivid culture and international atmosphere.”
Klaipeda hosted The Tall Ships Races Baltic 2009 and The Culture Tall Ships Regatta 2011; on 1 August 2017 Klaipeda will celebrate its 765th birthday.
Klaipeda is the centre of business, industry, culture and science of Western Lithuania and won the Council of Europe Prize 2003 for international cooperation. In addition the City and Port Authorities have a commitment to act as a sail training friendly port.
Klaipeda's bid to host the event said that the Tall Ships’ visit to Klaipeda was still alive in spectators’ memories; that they were looking forward to opening their sea gates to the Tall Ships fleet for the third time and the grand finale to their city would be unforgettable.
Szczecin has hosted The Tall Ships Races twice before, in 2007 and 2013. The city has a deep commitment to sail training - during the last four years; nearly 700 young residents of Szczecin have taken part in Tall Ships events, promoting the city and achieving sailing successes along the way.
Offering access to the Baltic Sea and Odra River, Szczecin is ideally positioned as both a port city and a gateway tourist destination. The forests, nature reserves, lakes and shorelines surrounding the city create a unique environment.
Piotr Krzystek, Mayor of Szczecin said, "Welcoming the magnificent Tall Ship fleet back to Szczecin is a key element of our city's future. We are a dynamically developing city, with a long term growth and development strategy which turns us towards the sea. In the lead up to the 2013 event we had invested in significant infrastructure and will build on this leading up to 2017. And, despite finishing our four year sponsorship of the event, we will continue to promote sail training opportunities for our young people over the coming years. We are sure that the finale for The Tall Ships Races 2017 will last in people's memories for ever."
For more information contact Sally Titmus, Communications and Marketing Manager, Sail Training International, Charles House, Gosport Marina, Mumby Road, Gosport, Hampshire, UK PO12 1AH Tel: +44 (0) 23 9258 6367 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.