The four-day sailing spectacle will descend on the 'noblest' quays in Europe on the last day of June (June 30th - July 03rd 2011). Click here for all the latest news on Tall Ships in Ireland.
The event is expected to draw over 500,000 maritime and music fans to Ireland's oldest city with visitors from home and abroad sharing the cosmopolitan atmosphere with sailors young and old from all corners of the world on the quays built on the foundations of the city's Viking settlements.
After the hugely successful inaugural hosting of the Tall Ships Race in 2005, Waterford has the skills and capacity to repeat its success. The opening of the Tall Ships is always a draw and is part of the festive party programme which will also celebrate Irish and continental acts in street theatre, firework-displays, music and food.
Most importantly for younger Tall-Ship lovers, there are opportunities for 16 year-olds to take part as a trainee from Waterford to Greenock in Scotland (departing July 3, 2011) as part of the first leg of the 2011 race. The cost is approximately €750 to include accommodation on the ship prior to and during the race to Greenock as well as the flight back to Ireland.
Without doubt the highlight will be the 'Parade of Sail' on July 3, when the Tall Ships head downriver from the River Suir, through Waterford estuary and out to the open sea. From there the tall ships will race off the western seaboard bound for Scotland. Later, there will be a cruise-in-company from Greenock to Lerwick in the Shetland Isles. The second race in the series will then go from Lerwick to Stavanger, Norway from where the third and final race will bring the fleet to Halmstad, Sweden.
Unlike 2005, there will be no Asgard II to lead the parade of sail, though since the sinking of the brigantine and the decision to wind up Coiste An Asgard, the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) has been facilitating a steering group with the aim of establishing 'Sail Training Ireland'.
The new body has been working with Sail Training International STI (the organisers of the Tall Ship Races) to establish a sail training programme with trainee providers and host ports. In the meantime, STI has awarded a bursary to Sail Training Ireland which will provide funding to support the participation of young people in the Tall Ships Races 2011 and 2012.
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Can Ireland Get a New Tall Ship?