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The Tall Ships Races 2017 Race 1, Report 1: Ideal Conditions for the Start of Race 1

Posted on: 06.07.17

Race 1 of the Tall Ships Races 2017 got underway 100 nautical miles off of the coast of Sweden on Tuesday 4 July in ideal racing conditions, helping the fleet make good progress along the 500 mile route to Kotka, Finland..

Here’s what Race Director, Mike Bowles, had to say about the departures from Halmstad and the start of Race 1 of the Tall Ships Races 2017.

“Ships departed Halmstad on the afternoon of Monday 3 July in lively conditions – a strong westerly breeze with gusts up to 25 – 28 knots. The parade of sail which was along a west facing shore had to be conducted a bit further offshore than had been planned but the huge crowds which had gathered to see the ships were treated to a good view of the fleet.

“The race start was some 100 nautical miles to the south and took place starting at 1800 hrs the following day. A ‘virtual’ start line of 4 nautical miles in length was used and ships were given starting ‘gates’ to cross the line by class to avoid the risk of congestion on the line. Weather conditions were excellent with a fresh westerly breeze and some excellent photographs were taken by the camera crews present. By the following morning (Wednesday 5 July) many ships were already well along the 500 mile route towards the finish line off the Estonian coast.

By this morning, Thursday 6 July, progress is slowing with winds dropping. Some vessels are down to only 1 or 2 knots whereas at the race start there were some ships doing in excess of 11 knots. The fleet is now east of the island of Gotland with the Finnish yacht Helena showing a lead on elapsed time as well as in overall lead on corrected time. Lighter winds are forecast for the coming 24 hours so it will be an interesting and challenging period for the ships.”

Mike Bowles, Race Director, Sail Training International

Latest Standing on Corrected Time (Handicap):

Class A

  1. Royalist (UK)
  2. Sorlandet (Norway)
  3. Fryderyk Chopin (Poland)

Class B

  1. Vega Gamleby (Sweden)
  2. Gratitude (Sweden)
  3. Helena (Finland)

Class C

  1. St Iv (Estonia)
  2. Sharki (Poland)
  3. Tara (Denmark)

Class D

  1. Tuulelind (Estonia)
  2. Akela (Russia)
  3. Urtica (Poland)

Note: Positions and placings are correct at time of writing. Check out YB Satellite Tracking for the latest information.

News from the Crew of Urania

 “‘The race isn’t won within five minutes’. Those were the words we heard today, and eventually we learned what they meant. All day long we chased Shabab Oman II, a far bigger ship with three masts. It seemed impossible, but we had a trick up our sleeve – our mighty three-colored Gennaker. With great haste we hoisted this even bigger sail when the winds were favorable, we almost even touched 10 knots. Somewhere in the evening the magical moment came and we passed them and also the beautiful Belle Poule, so our day could not have been better. Of course this battle does not mean we have won the war, because our next target is already in sight, TS Royalist.

“Apart from the race there was also some time for those of us who were not on watch to sit on deck and appreciate the nice views, because the weather was spectacular. Overall it was a sunny day with enough wind to keep our speed and hopes up.

“Last but not least, lunch. Today we had our weekly Indonesian meal which was tasty and in abundance, so every man and woman could get their strength up for the next days. As if that wasn’t good enough, we also had an evening snack of pizza, hot out of the oven. All in all we are heading into the night with full bellies and smiling faces.”

Follow the Fleet With YB Satellite Tracking

The adventure has only just begun… for trainees and for everyone following the race at home. Each ship is fitted with a YB satellite transponder – a self-contained battery operated tracker which allows you to track a vessel’s position from anywhere on earth.

Using YB Satellite Tracking, you’ll be able to follow the Tall Ships Races 2017 as it makes its way from Halmstad, Swedend, to Kotka, Finland… and in every race toward the end of the event in Szczecin, Poland. You can stay up to date with the latest tactics and race placings… and with our regular race reports, you won’t miss a thing!

Check out our YB Satellite Tracking page to follow the fleet (including instructions and more information). You can also download the YB app for your phone and tablet from the App Store and Google Play Store, which gives you everything from the web version on the go.


Taking part in The Tall Ships Races 2017 is fun – lots of fun. You can take part too – zero experience necessary.  Places are available on ships across the fleet on all race legs.  Just do it ?

Halmstad, Sweden 30 June – 3 July


Kotka, Finland 13 July – 16 July


Turku, Finland 20 July – 1 August


Klaipeda, Lithuania 29 July – 1 August


Szczecin, Poland 5 August – 8 August

All five host ports are experienced and boast a total of 11 Tall Ships Races and Regattas between them. Take a look at each of the race pages to see which vessels are taking part.  Many are still looking for trainee crew to join them; simply pick a vessel and go their website to book your place. Or email and our helpful team will do all the hard work and help you find the perfect ship for you!

Follow the event on the Sail Training International Facebook page where we will be post photos and videos throughout the event.

Photos: Ocean Scout (UK) at the start of Race 1 of the Tall Ships Races 2017, courtesy of Richard Sibley.