is to draw 500,000 visitors from home and abroad. The festival is to be presented by Szczecin and organised by the Sail Training International.
Over 70 of the worlds tall-ships of all shapes and sizes will sail up the River Suir to take up residence on both sides of Waterford's city centre quays, where a major meeting of over 1,500 trainee sailors stretching from far and distant shores are to congregate.
One of the attending Class 'A' fully rigged ships, Christian Radich, which was built in 1937, incidentally provided sail-training opportunities for Irish trainees in an arrangement between her Norwegian owners and Coiste an Asgard. The sail-trainee agreement in 2009 followed the sinking of Coiste an Asgard's brigantine the Asgard II in the previous year. This was to be the last season of the state-owned sail training agency which was axed in the 2009 budget.
Another 'A' lister is the UK flagged Royalist, a brig built by Groves and Gutteridge in Cowes, Isle of Wight to a design by Colin Mudie. The 40 year old brig was named by HRH Princess Anne in 1971 for the Sea Cadet Association. She may be small for an 'A' class at just 28-metres long but the vessel can easily be spotted with her distinctive black and white painted hull.
While one of the oldest vessels to participant is the 87 year-old Brixham built trawler Provident, which along with Leader, are the only 'sailing' survivors of a once numerous traditional North Sea fishing craft. The 95-foot vessel was built at Galmpton on the River Dart. In 1991 there was a major refit of the 85 tonnes craft which has since 1999 worked from Brixham as part of the Trinity Sailing Foundation.
The event which is billed as the largest Irish festival in 2011 also presents young Irish people to experience a once in a lifetime opportunity to set sail onboard a tall-ship. The opportunity is open to those aged 16 or over by June 30 and are fit and active to be a trainee on the inaugural race leg from Waterford to Greenock (departing 3 July). For details click here.
On this date the eagerly awaited 'Parade of Sail' is set to depart the crystal city downriver on the Waterford Estuary and out into the open sea.
Looking for further reading on Tall Ships in Ireland? Click the links below:
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Previewing Ireland's Tall Ships 2011 Season
Can Ireland Get a New Tall Ship?