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Tall Ships Races and Regattas


At Sail Training International, we’re extremely proud to be the only people in the world who organise our unique style of sail training Tall Ships Races and Regattas.

Our first event took place 60 years ago… and each one has been a huge success ever since. Today, our Races can attract a diverse fleet of international vessels from up to 30 different countries. And, they can bring up to four million visitors and 400 media representatives to the ports we visit.

Our events take place mainly in Europe… but we’re making waves in oceans around the world. We’re organising a Trans-Atlantic event in 2017 – the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta. At Sail On Board, we live for the Tall Ships Races and Regattas… and we love them. But what are they?

Let’s take a look.

What are the tall ships races image

We can help you to get involved with lots of different sail training adventures around the world. However, the biggest one that we organise is the Tall Ships Races. This spectacular, annual event is aimed at young people (16-25 years old) and it takes place in European waters over the summer months.

We start planning the Tall Ships Races four years in advance. We carefully select the route, so that the fleet can visit different sea areas around Europe… everywhere from the Baltic to the Mediterranean. After all, we want as many different people as possible to experience an adventure under sail.

Once we’ve decided on the region, we invite ports to bid to become host ports. Host ports play a really important role in the Tall Ships Races – we couldn’t do it without them. So, of course, we want to make sure that they’re up to the task. We want to ensure that the event is a success for them, too.

Huge crowds visit the host ports during the four days of the Tall Ships Races. We’ve seen hundreds of thousands of people at events… sometimes even several million.

Once the host ports are on board, we invite the world’s Tall Ships to take part. Everything from the biggest Class As (barques, brigs and ship rigged) to the smallest Class Ds (sloops, ketches and schooners). After the impressive fleet is assembled, we need to find the crew to sail them. That’s where you come in.

tall ships regattas

So, you know about the Tall Ships Races… but what about the Regattas?

We organise one or two Tall Ships Regattas every year. The fleet is usually smaller than at the Tall Ships Races, but it’s a spectacular gathering all the same. All classes of vessels take part, and they also attract hundreds of thousands of visitors to each host port.

The great thing about the Tall Ships Regattas is that a wide variety of ports can get involved – including those that aren’t able to host the larger fleets of the Tall Ships Races.

In 2013, we saw a fleet of more than 40 vessels from 16 countries visit Barcelona, Toulon and La Spezia during the Lycamobile Mediterranean Tall Ships Regatta. More recently, we’ve enjoyed the magnificent SCF Black Sea Tall Ships Regatta 2014 and the Falmouth to Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Regatta. We’ll also be visiting the North Sea and the Black Sea again in 2016!

Taking part in a Regatta is just as exciting as a Tall Ships Race… and you might even get to visit a more unusual port!

The fun really starts once you’ve signed up for a sail training adventure.

Nothing can quite prepare you for the unforgettable atmosphere of racing. Picture yourself sailing on a beautiful Tall Ship, way out at sea, with the waves crashing against the hull, no land in sight, the sun rising behind you, and your closest competitor hot on your heels.

Races and Regattas are broken down into “legs,” or races. The number of legs depends on how many host ports are taking part – you’ll race from one port to the next. We want everyone who takes part to have fun… but don’t forget that it’s a race, with lots of trophies and prizes up for grabs.

Cruise-in-Company

Along with the race legs, there’s also the opportunity to take part in a “Cruise-in-Company.” This is sometimes called a “Guest Port Programme.” It’s not a race – it’s an opportunity to take things at a more leisurely pace. You’ll have more time to enjoy the company of the rest of the fleet, take in your surroundings, and bond with your crewmates.

Perhaps you’ll stop to anchor in a picturesque port which has put on some special entertainment for the visiting fleet. Maybe you’ll check out a beautiful bay for an overnight party. Or you could sail slowly and take in a tourist attraction. Some crews even swap ships and welcome new international crewmates.

what happens during a race

TYPICAL Port Programme

Here’s an taste of what you can expect:

  • Thursday
12:00 Deadline for vessels to be in port
10:00-19:00 Crew sports and cultural activities
13:00 Opening ceremony
 20:00  Captains’ dinner
  • Friday
10:00-14:00 Crew sports and cultural activities
17:00-19:00 Crew Parade and Prize-Giving Ceremony
19:30 Crew party
  • Saturday
10:00-14:00 Crew sports and cultural activities
16:00-17:00 Captains’ briefing
  • Sunday
09:00-11:00 Fleet undocking
12:00-14:00 Tall ships parade

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Visit Find Your Adventure Under Sail and answer three questions. You can choose the type of sail training you’re interested in, which year you’d like to get involved, and where in the world you want to go. We’ll let you know which vessels might fit the bill, and you can visit their websites and contact them directly to book your place. Simple.

You can also check out our Events for our upcoming Races and Regattas. Start by choosing a race leg or port that fits your timetable, and can chose from the ships that are taking part.

If you’d like help finding and booking your adventure – we’re here to help you every step of the way. Even if you haven’t quite decided on what you want to do, and where you want to go, we can guide you through the process. From finding an event and ships that’s right for you, to contacting a vessel, or finding out more about funding options.

Email the Sail On Board support team on enquiries@sailonboard.com, or give us a call on +44 (0)23 9258 6367. We’ll happily answer all your questions, and try to solve any problems you might be experiencing.