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North Sea Tall Ships Regatta 2016 Gothenburg: Going Green in Sweden

Posted on: 03.09.16

The final port of the North Sea Tall Ships Regatta 2016 came alive today (Saturday 3 September), when the sun came out and the gates opened to visitors of all ages, cultures and nationalities. Everyone was excited to catch a glimpse of the spectacular international fleet of Tall and Small Ships up close, since they last visited in 1997.

More vessels arrived last night filling Frihamnen with the spectacular sights of tall masts, lines and flags this morning. As soon as the gates opened spectators flocked to visit the ships, take photographs, meet the crew members and trainees, and get involved with the vast programme of activities that is taking place in Gothenburg during the event. These include: live music and DJs, food markets, exhibitions, quizzes, sailing taster sessions, kite displays, theatre, and dancing.

Final Race Results

The STI Race Committee has now finalised the race results… and congratulations goes to Vega Gamleby (Sweden), who came first overall. She celebrated in style by sailing with full sails to the end of Frihamnen to celebrate!

  • You can see the final race results here.

Opening Ceremony

The event site opened at 10:00, which gave visitors the chance to drink in the sights and sounds of Frihamnen ahead of the Opening Ceremony at 15:00, which kicked proceedings off in style.

James Stevens, STI Race Chairman for the North Sea Tall Ships Regatta 2016, welcomed visitors, along with Mayor of Gothenburg Lena Malm.

“This event is a lot more than a sailing race. On each ship, at least half of the crew is made up of young trainees under 25 years old. Before the start of the race, many had never sailed before. Some are from disadvantaged backgrounds, some have disabilities, but all will remember this week for the rest of their lives.

“Sixty trainees come from Sweden. Young people whose voyage fees were paid for by the City of Gothenburg and other sponsors. They have all sailed more than 500 miles, racing through day and night, steering, keeping a lookout, handling ropes, and all the other tasks required to sail a ship. They have learnt to work together as a team in friendly rivalry with other ships, and they have met crews from the 10 nations in the regatta.”
James Stevens, STI Race Chairman.

“Ladies and gentlemen and visitors in our city, and of course all crew members of the vessels in Tall Ships Regatta. It’s my pleasure to welcome you all to this event on behalf of the City of Gothenburg.

“Gothenburg was built nearly 400 years ago to be the Swedish gate to the West. It was a measure to secure the border of Sweden. Today, Gothenburg is a city open to the world. From the beginning, trade and shipping has been the main purpose of our city. The knowledge to build ships has been important and there were many shipyards here in Gothenburg before. If you ask the people in our city and from other parts of Sweden what they think about when they hear the name ‘Göteborg,’ many answers will be ‘the sea,’ ‘the harbour,’ and ‘the water.’

“For people in Gothenburg, it’s now more important to get closer to the water than we used to be. And, of course, ships and vessels always make us feel at home. I am proud and grateful that the city this weekend is the final stop of the Tall Ships Regatta, especially since the organisation behind the Regatta is working with people who benefit from the sail training experience.”

Mayor of Gothenburg, Lena Malm.


One of the main themes of the Opening Ceremony was sustainability and the environmentt… which is a message that’s echoed throughout Gothenburg and Sweden as a whole.

The city is committed to sustainability – the Port Authority has been a carbon-neutral company since 2015. As the largest port in the Nordic countries, Gothenburg’s efforts to reduce the environmental impact of shipping and its dedication to sustainable transport are paving the way for others.

As part of this focus on sustainability, we’re proud to report that there are four Blue Flag vessels participating in the North Sea Tall Ships Regatta 2016: Lord Nelson (UK), Thalassa (The Netherlands), Oosterschelde (The Netherlands), and Dar Mlodziezy (Poland).

During the event, the organisers and the city will focus on environmental, social and economic factors. In fact, the event as a whole meets the Swedish Environmental Base Standard for sustainable events, and the city has asked participating vessels to consider sustainability and the environment while visiting Frihamnen and the port.

The port is doing the following to address sustainability:

  • Ensuring that the site is accessible and communicating this clearly.
  • Providing English translations for the majority of information.
  • Highlighting the value of trainees.
  • Labelling ingredients and allergens in food establishments.
  • Promoting diversity.
  • Engaging and including young people (including locals).
  • Offering guided tours (including interpretation for sight/vision impaired individuals).
  • Encouraging use of public transport, cycling (and providing parking spots and rental bikes) and walking.
  • Minimising emissions.
  • Promote recycling and minimising unnecessary waste.
  • Using green power.
  • Focusing on organic and ethically labelled food and drink (at least 30 percent).
  • Reducing use of plastic (including water bottles).
  • Selling sustainable fish and shellfish.

As a result of these initiatives, we’re looking forward to enjoying an accessible event that’s open and welcoming to everyone, with a focus on sustainability and preserving our environment and our seas.

North Sea Tall Ships Regatta 2016: Environmental Award

Tomorrow (Sunday 4 September), we’ll present the Environmental Award at the Prize-Giving Ceremony. This will recognise the vessel that has best met environmental standards during the event. The winning vessel doesn’t have to be a Blue Flag vessel, just one that’s made a contribution to sustainability.

The winning vessel should demonstrate some of the following:

  • Have a marine environmental protection plan.
  • Give briefings and training to trainees on sustainability and/or marine protection.
  • Have a routine for dealing with toxic and poisonous waste.
  • Focus on recycling.
  • Have solar panels and/or wind generators.

The Prize-Giving Ceremony will take place on the Main Stage at 18:00 tomorrow (Sunday 4 September).

You can find out more about Gothenburg on our port page, and about the North Sea Tall Ships Regatta 2016 on our event page. Don’t forget to check out our blog for the latest from the event.

You can also check out our latest photos on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Photo: Celebrating Sustainability – Vega Gamleby (Sweden) proudly sails into Gothenburg under full sail in celebration of winning the North Sea Tall Ships Regatta 2016. Photo by Christina Kroner.