As ships continue to arrive in the port of Varna visitors are starting to gather on the dockside this morning. If the strong presence of press at the first conference to mark the start of the Varna stop over is anything to go by, this race should be equally as popular as the Greek venue of Volos last week – the first port of the Historical Seas Tall Ships Regatta.
Over 60 members of the press, including eight television crews, packed into the conference hall at midday to listen to the opening speeches, which included a welcome from Kiril Yordanov, the Major of Varna. Robin Snouck Hurgronje (Race Chairman), Peter Newell (Race Director), Toma Tomov (from organising committee), Dancho Simeonov (District Governor), Alexander Kalchev (Chief Liaison Officer), and Commissioner Dimitrov (Chief of Police), were also present.
Robin Snouck Hurgronje, in his welcoming speech said: “This is an important event because our mission is to bring ships and people together and to contribute to international friendship and mutual understanding. We are happy to be here in Varna and meet the people, especially because the Bulgarian ship Kaliakra has been competing in Tall Ship Races for 25 years. Coming here with this fleet is a good opportunity to show our appreciation to Kaliakra and all the people in Varna.”
Peter Newell added: "...we rely on the volunteers to make these sorts of events happen, so we are particularly grateful for all the help and cooperation we’ve been given in Varna."
Back on the race course the fleet has until 0100 UTC/GMT tomorrow morning (0400 local time) 21 May to cross the finish line and so that they will arrive in port by midday local time.
To view the current placings of the race click here
The Historical Seas Tall Ships Regatta is organised by Sail Training International.