Goodbye to the fleet, from the Race Chairman

05 September 2011

Goodbye to the fleet, from the Race Chairman

Culture 2011 Tall Ships Regatta – a summary from the Race Chairman

This Regatta was specially organised by Sail Training International to mark Turku being the European Capital of Culture in 2011.   It was a great opportunity to link the tall ships fleet with cultural activities and to emphasise that sailing ships do have a cultural value.  With Turku, obviously, being the centre port of this Regatta, Klaipeda and Gdynia played excellent roles as the start and finish ports. The events in all three ports were very well organised and many hundreds of thousands of visitors have enjoyed the visits of the tall ships fleet.

Race 1 (Klaipeda-Turku) and Race 2 (Turku- Gdynia) were completely different races.  Again the weather in the Baltic Sea had shown her capricious caracter.  Race 1, going west of Gotland, was planned to be a relative easy one with following winds from the south-west.  However the ships had to fight for every mile of progress because of very light winds.  Race 2 was, on paper, only one track from Turku to Gdynia (east of Gotland).  The reality was far more difficult.  This time the ships had to fight for every mile of progress against strong winds from the south west and high waves at the start. In the days that followed the wind varied strongly in the different parts of the Baltic Sea, creating a widely scattered fleet between the start area south of Turku to the finish area near Gdynia.

Although the usual age limit was not in force during this Regatta, the three host ports had organised groups of trainees.  Together with the large number on board the big Class A ships, there were about 500 trainees in the relatively small tall ships fleet.  For all of them the two races provided an excellent opportunity to experience sail training in varying and sometimes difficult situations.

We have welcomed new ships to the fleet as well as old members who returned after some years of absence and it was wonderful to see them all.  

As the fleet head off now to their home ports or new destinations, I wish them all fair winds and following seas and look forward to seeing them at the Tall Ships Races and Regattas in the future.

Robin Snouck Hurgronje, Chairman of Race Committee

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