Today (Monday 3 July) the international fleet of the Tall Ships Races 2017 paraded out of Halmstad along the coast for around five nautical miles, before turning to make their way to the Race Start area ready for tomorrows official race start to Kotka, Finland – and the start of their big sea adventure.
It was a breezy day with westerly winds up to 30 knots and choppy waters – but the sun shone through and crowds of people turned out to watch the fleet from the shore, particularly around the shoreline of Tylösand.
Yesterday the crews had their ‘change over’ day. This was the time when delivery crews who had brought the vessels over for the start of the Tall Ships Races went home and the new crew of trainees who will be taking part in the first race to Kotka, Finland joined their ships.
Over the last 24 hours the new trainees have been familiarising themselves with their new ship, been given safety briefings, put into watch systems and started their basic training. The early stages of the race are going to be challenging – a low pressure is moving over Sweden and the weather prediction is south westerly winds of 20-25 knots and lots of rain. It will certainly present a weather challenge for the new traineees on board, but all this adds to the excitment of taking part in a sea adventure.
Simon Wiseman, 23, sailing on Leila (UK) sums up the feelings of many of the trainees preparing to take on the challenge of racing to Finland, “I saw taking part in The Tall Ships Races 2017 as a chance to challenge myself, see new places and things. It is also a very bonding thing to do with other people. However, I am not looking forward to bad weather and home sickness – this is going to be longest time I’ve been away from home!”
Paul Thompson, Commercial Director at Sail Training International and volunteer Sail Training skipper with the Rona Trust said, “Home sickness is understandable in young people who are away from home for an extended time and getting to know new crew members in an unfamiliar environment. Usually these feelings quickly disappear as the trainees on board get used to each other, take on new challenges and become absorbed into the rhythm of life on board. Setting sails, going aloft for the first time and steering the vessel, as well as cooking and cleaning means they are fully engaged. This whole new environment of life on board, and at sea, is a great leveller no matter what background a trainee comes from.”
The start of Race One, south of Trelleborg tomorrow (Tuesday 4 July) is going to be a ‘virtual’ race start; this means that the ships can cross the start line within a time window rather than crossing a start line at a set time.The race start window for Class A ships is between 1800 – 1900, Class B ships between 1900 – 2000, and Classes C and D together between 2000 – 2100. The race finishes five to 10 nautical miles from Suurupi Lighthouse in FInland – approximately 485 nautical miles away.
Follow the Fleet: The Races can be followed by everyone thanks to satellite transponders which are fitted on to every ship. These transponders transmit every hour and the race can be followed using the FREE YellowBrick phone app. You can download the YB Tracking mobile app for iPhone/iPad from iTunes, and for Android from Google Play. Or follow it on the Sail on Board website online here.
BEHIND THE SCENES OF THE TALL SHIPS RACES …
Liaison Officers: Every vessel in Halmstad had a Liaison Officer (known as an LO) – there were over 60 as some of the larger ships had two. Each LO was dedicated to their vessel and available each day to provide essential information and keep the ships up to date with latest news updates during their stay in port.They were also there to help with local queries such as finding local shops or help with finding spare parts, or any issues the visiting ships and crews might have.
Captains Briefing: Every Captain, plus one other crew member, attended a special briefing at Figaro Theatre in Halmstad yesterday. They were briefed on the undocking procedure for the Parade of Sail; given a meteorological weather briefing on the first two or three days after leaving Halmstad; information about the race start tomorrow (Tuesday 4 July) and a briefing from the Kotka Harbour Master on what to expect when they arrive into Finland.
ABOUT THE TALL SHIPS rACES 2017
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 😉
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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: Banner and feature image – Sail Training International.