Yesterday (Wednesday 10 August), the international fleet began arriving in the final port of the Tall Ships Races 2016… bustling and diverse A Coruña in Spain. The atmosphere is electric – everyone is ready to celebrate the finale of this special Diamond Anniversary event.
Lord Nelson (UK), Simon Bolivar (Venezuela), and Rupel (Belgium) were the first to arrive to a warm welcome in northern Spain and there are just a few vessels left still to make their way into the port by the end of tomorrow (Friday 12 August). We anticipate that the quays will fill up with 28 vessels and around 2,000 trainees.
The fleet is fresh from a hugely successful 430-mile final race and Cruise-in-Company from Cádiz in south-west Spain. The Tall and Small Ships had the opportunity to stop at different ports during the voyage along the Iberian Peninsula for celebrations, to make repairs, to take on supplies, and to give crew members the valuable chance to meet new people from different nationalities and experience sailing on board different vessels.
“Race three was very exciting and challenging; light headwinds made it very challenging for the captains and navigators. There were also some very close finishes within the classes… in fact, line honours was also very close.
“Since then, the crews have enjoyed visits to both the Portuguese and Spanish Cruise-in-Company ports. However, because of the strong headwinds, it’s been difficult to get to A Coruña in time. So, the Cruise-in-Company has been a combination of enjoying a limited time in port and a challenging passage north.”
Paul Bishop, Race Director, Sail Training International
About A Coruña
A Coruña is a busy port located on a promontory in the entrance of an estuary in a large gulf on the Atlantic Ocean. It’s the richest region of Galicia – an autonomous community in northwest Spain, and its economic engine.
The fleet has been given pride of place in the city – Class As are moored at the inner and outer quays of Muelle de Trasatlánticoa, right in the middle of the thriving metropolis, as well as at Muelle de Batería. You can find the diverse fleet of Class B, C and D vessels at the pontoons of Marina Real, inside the Dársena de la Marina.
In the past, A Coruña has received several awards at the Prize-Giving Ceremony, including the Host Port Award. The Juan de Lángara Association also won the Friendship Trophy in 2006 with its Tall Ship of the same name, which can be visited in port.
What Crews Can Expect
Over the next four days (Thursday 11 August-Sunday 14 August), crew members can expect to enjoy a raft of sporting and cultural events. These include a kayak regatta, fencing, tug of war, concerts in María Pita, open water swimming, a sailing regatta, the blade bowsprit, and pirate games.
In addition to these activities, crew members can take part in a number of guided cultural tours to sights around the city, including the Old Town, María Pita Square, San Antón Castle, Tower of Hercules, Mount San Pedro, and several gastronomically themed routes.
The local María Pita fiestas are also taking place in the city, so the city is pulsing with cultural entertainment and energy. There are hundreds of free musical performances, fairs and exhibitions taking place, along with the traditional “Teresa Herrera” football tournament.
Check out the city cultural programme taking place in María Pita, below:
- Wednesday 10 August, 22:00: Galician Jazz Orchestra
- Thursday 11 August, 22:00: Loquillo
- Friday 12 August, 22:00: Nouvelle Vague
- Saturday 13 August, 23:30: Carlos Baute
- Sunday 14 August, 22:00 Ute Lemper
Visitors should note that the port is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday, but not Sunday as the fleet prepares to depart for the Parade of Sail.
The port is already buzzing with activity, with vessels arriving, stall-holders setting up, and visitors streaming through the gates to catch a glimpse of the grand fleet.
The official proceedings started with a bang at the opening ceremony earlier today (Thursday 11 August), with the international fleet of Tall Ships providing an impressive backdrop. Enrique Losada (President of the A Coruña Port Committee) spoke first, followed by Pepe Etcheverria (Patron de Yate, Juan de Lángara Association, Raúl Mimbacas (Sail Training International Race Chairman), and Xulio Ferreiro (Mayor of A Coruña).
“And I continue the celebrations in order to welcome over here the members of all the different nationalities that will be filling our streets and squares with colour and happiness over the following days. We hope we can offer our best hospitality and friendly atmosphere that our city, A Coruña, has.
“Visit our beaches, walk along our streets, rest in our squares, taste our gastronomy, enjoy this cheerful environment of your stay in A Coruña, one of the most enjoyable and unique experiences of your lives. It will be the biggest, most special and best representation of our port. Thank you very much and welcome.”
Enrique Losada, President of the A Coruña Port Committee.
“I would like to welcome to A Coruña all the people who have come to our port. Some people are still sailing on their way to A Coruña. I hope that they can come safely. I would like to invite you to have a great stay in A Coruña for a few days. And that you enjoy the activities here and also the summer festivals. The restaurants, the food, of course. We’re really happy to have you here. We really hope you have a great time in A Coruña. We hope it’s not the first time in A Coruña, but the first time of many.”
Xulio Ferreiro, Mayor of A Coruña.
Photo: Trainees enjoying the port activities.