The weekend arrival of ships and sparkling sunshine has attracted plenty of visitors to Volos today. This Greek shipping port, which is known as the ‘bridge’ between Europe, the Middle East and Asia, is ideally situated for the opening race of the Historical Tall Ships Regatta 2010. Just yards from the main Riviera, Volos is relatively sheltered on the innermost point of the Pagasetic Gulf and at the foot of Mount Pilio.
The British Jubilee Sailing Trust Barque 3, Tenacious, was one of the first to arrive in port last week, together with the pretty British Bermudan ketch Maybe, the Dutch gaff ketch Tecla, and a couple of yachts – Hansa from Spain, and Akela from Russia.
Today’s arrivals have provided visitors with plenty interest with the likes of the 44metre Barquentine from Oman – Shabab Oman – docking early this morning, and the 47 metre Indonesian Barquentine – Dewaruci – arriving this afternoon. The crew on these two imposing-looking ships caused much excitement as they entertained the crowds on the dockside with displays of dance and traditional music which resounded across the bay.
The remaining ships in this 19-boat fleet will be in port by tomorrow morning – the opening day of the festival. At 1200 the Mayor of Volos – Alekos Voulgaris – will carry out the opening speech together with Robin Snouk Hurgronje – Chairman of the Historical Seas Tall Ships Regatta.
Snouk Hurgronje speaking at the press conference today said: “After three years of preparations, we are very happy to be here in Volos at the start of the Historical Seas Tall Ships Regatta. It is the very first time we are here with the tall ships fleet and I hope very much it will be a spectacular event, sailing through the Aegean Sea, through the Bosphorus and back again must be spectacular for the crews on these sailing ships. And being here in the old part of Greece is also very good news. We hope to promote sail training in this region, and we very much hope we can come back here in the future with another Historical Seas Tall Ships Regatta.”
The first race from Volos to Varna, Bulgaria, is over two legs and starts the day following the parade of sail, on Thursday 13th May from an area south of Skiathos – 30 miles from Volos. With the Sporades Islands to port, the fleet will head off on a 160-mile course, via a number of waypoints, to the west of the entrance to the Dardanelles. Here the fleet will pass through the Sea of Marmara and the Bosphorus under engine before starting the second leg in the Black Sea to Varna.
For those interested in taking a closer look at the ships, most will be open to the public between 1800 and 2030 tomorrow.