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Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta: Les Grandes Voiles du Havre

Posted on: 31.08.17

History is being made in Le Havre, France this weekend as the international Tall Ships fleet arrive to commemorate the 500 year anniversary of the city and the port and the conclusion of the epic Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta.

This historical event, locally called ‘Les Grandes Voiles du Havre’ welcomes vessels and crews from all over the world for four days of celebrations. It’s an event not to be missed as the last and only ever Tall Ships event in Le Havre was The Tall Ships Races 1977 – forty years ago.

Free to everyone and being held in Bassin Paul Vatine and Bassin De L’Eure there is an incredible line up of ships and a packed programme of shore based activities available from 10am – 5pm, Thursday 31 August – Sunday 3 September.

Fantastic Fleet Facts

 16 of the vessels in Le Havre took part in the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta

11 vessels in Le Havre raced across the Atlantic from Halifax in the final race leg of the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta

eight vessels in Le Havre have taken part in The Tall Ships Races 2017 and sailed to France from Szczecin, Poland

11 different flag states are represented by the fleet: Brazil, Bulgaria, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Oman, Portugal, Russia, UK, Vanuatu

four vessels in Le Havre sailed in the whole Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta from Royal Greenwich, UK to Le Havre: Jolie Brise, Blue Clipper, Peter von Danzig, Rona II.

six vessels in Le Havre are Blue Flag Registered – which means they have pledged to protect the seas they sail on: Alexander von Humboldt II; Gulden Leeuw; Oosterschelde; Sagres; Santa Maria Manuela; Atyla.

the shortest vessel, with the smallest crew is Regina Germania (Germany) – 13.7m long, four trainees, four permanent crew

the longest vessel, with the largest crew is Kruzenshtern (Russia) – 104.10 m, 164 trainees, 61 permanent crew

the total estimated number of trainees and crew in Le Havre (from both Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta and visiting vessels fleet) is over 1400

Port activities

Visitors and crews are set to enjoy a whole host of events on the wharves.  A special Village of the Sea has been set up with 45 different maritime related stalls. There is live, world music from Cuban, Latino, New Orleans, Caribbean and Jazz-funk bands, as well as Electro-Swing DJs and sea shanty choirs. A ceremonial blessing of the fleet is planned, as well as fireworks, a special Tall Ships Parade, crew parade and grand final prize giving ceremony.

Crew activities

As well as enjoying all the visitor attractions crews can take part in sports activities. A 10km and 15km organised run across the city is being held every morning and free swimming is available in the swimming pool at Bains des Docks. There is a rowing competition, stand up paddle tournament (with training) and a J80 sailing competition. For the less sporty there are guided visits around downtown Le Havre and a big city cultural programme as part of the 500th birthday celebrations

Opening Ceremony

The event was officially opened with a ceremonial French ribbon cutting ceremony and a tour of the ships by Luc Lemonnier, Mayor of Le Havre.

Christian Bickert, Le Havre Event Chairman for Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regata and Vice Chairman of Amis des Grand Voilier (STA France) said: “Thank you to the Captains and to all the crews – we are very proud of this magnificent event and all that you have achieved to come here and join in with these four days of festivities.”

International Celebration

International friendship and understanding has always been at the core of this once-in-a-lifetime adventure and the crew in Le Havre is no exception –  twenty eight different nationalities were found amongst the diverse crew including sailors (both permanent and trainees) from:

Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bermuda, Bulgaria, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom, USA.

They all came together for a fantastic international photocall.

Rendez-Vous Round Up

The Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta was originally organised to celebrate Canada 150, the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation. As part of its mission to celebrate this key event the Tall Ships fleet has sailed over 10,000 nautical miles over five months and taken part in two Transatlantic crossings.

The event started in Royal Greenwich, UK in April before the fleet made its way south to Sines, Portugal. It then set of for the first Transatlantic leg to Bermuda, which included a 48-hour stop-over in Las Palmas, Canary Islands. The event in Bermuda coincided with the 35th America’s Cup  and the fleet then raced to Boston, USA.  After Boston, the fleet enjoyed the hospitality of beauty of thirty Canadian gues ports – with key events in Québec and Halifax, before crossing the Atlantic for the second time and now finishing in Le Havre, France.

Tall Ships from Canada, Chile, Cook Islands, Ecuador, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Peru, Russia, Spain, UK and the USA have taken part.  And more importantly, thousands of people from all walks of life, from different countries and cultures, have had the opportunity to sail on board these beautiful vessels.

 “This Regatta has been a unique, international celebration, bringing countries together and offering all participants and festival visitors an amazing, once in a lifetime experience.”

Doug Prothero, Race Chairman, Sail Training International


For more information visit Le Havre Tourisme and Le Havre Tall Ships

Photos from the event can be seen on the Sail Training International  Facebook page.

 Banner, feature and blog images: Valery Vasilevskiy