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Do You Know Your ABC and D of Tallships?

19th August 2012
Do You Know Your ABC and D of Tallships?

#TALLSHIPS COUNTDOWN – Now that the Tall Ships are beginning to arrive, noting yesterday's call of STS Pogoria as previously reported and the Ecuadorian Navy's sail-training ship Guayas which has since docked in Dublin Port, we can look forward to many more such vessels, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The sailing spectacle which is presented by Szczecin and organised by Sail Training International has been billed as Ireland's biggest summer free family festival (23-26th August). The event is expected to attract an estimated 1 million visitors to throng the Liffey and witness ships of the bygone era of sail.

The rest of the 40 –plus strong fleet, are to descent into Dublin Port during the week, and where the capital last held the event in 1998, then promoted as the Cutty Sark Tall Ships Races.

Since then there have seen considerable changes, particularly along the Liffey quays and campshires, where derelict docklands have been replaced by an expanding financial district, beyond the IFSC complex. There have also been great improvements on and over the Liffey and spanning that timeframe there have been three bridges built and the sight-seeing river excursion boat, Spirit of the Docklands.

No doubt this 'new' waterfront will form an exciting visual mix with the arrival of a forest of masts, plus international crew soaking in the atmosphere that these events bring, and the opportunity for flocks of visitors to board these wonderful ships of sail.

With so many tallships and of varying rigging, they are divided into four sailing classes: A,B,C and D, Each vessel has at least 50 per cent of the crew aged between 15 and 25 years old and the ships must meet the Sail Training International's safety equipment requirements.

Below is an example of each classification including the websites relating to the particular tallship, should you wish to gain a further insight into the story of these majestic vessels.

Alexander Von Humboldt II

Class: A All square – rigged vessels (barque, barquentine, brig, brigantine or ship rigged) and all other vessel more than 40 metres Length Overall (LOA), regardless of rig.

Length: 65 Year Built: 2011 Country of Registration: Germany Rig: Barque 3

Johanna Lucretia

Class: B Traditionally-rigged vessels (ie gaff rigged sloops, ketches, yawls and schooners) with an LOA of less than 40 metres and with a waterline length (LWL) of at least 9.14 metres.

Length: 25.3 Year Built: 1945 Country of Registration: UK Rig: Gaff Schooner 2


Class: C Modern rigged vessels (i.e Bermudan rigged sloops, ketches, yawls and schooners) with an LOA of less than 40 metres and with a waterline length (LWL) of at least 9.14 metres not carrying spinnaker-like sails.

Length: 30.16 Year Built: 2003 Country of Registration: Norway Rig: Bermuda Ketch


Class: D Modern rigged vessels (i.e Bermudan rigged sloops, ketches, yawls and schooners) with an LOA of less than 40 metres and with a waterline length (LWL) of at least 9.14 metres carrying spinnaker-like sails.

Length: 70 Feet Year Built: 1967 Country of Registration: Ireland Rig: Bermuda Ketch

Note there is no direct website for this vessel, however under the festival website. Firstly go to view gallery, then see fleet and lastly click Class D. By scrolling look for the photo of the yacht with the gold Irish shamrock on the spinnaker. The vessel was taken off the Spit Sandbank Lighthouse in lower Cork Harbour.

So fair sailing!.. to all on board as we eagerly await these splendid ships into the horse-shoe shape of Dublin Bay.

Published in Tall Ships
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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