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Tall Ships Races 2017 Race 1, Report 6: Final teams cross finish line ahead of arrival in Kotka

Posted on: 11.07.17

The remainder of the fleet taking part in Race 1 of the Tall Ships Races 2017 crossed the finish line to the west of Tallinn on Tuesday (11 July) ahead of an action-packed visit to the Finnish port of Kotka, perched on the estuary of the river Kymijoki.

International mix starts to arrive in Kotka

A number of vessels have started to arrive in Kotka, the first of two Finnish ports hosting the Tall Ships Races 2017 fleet whilst the rest of the fleet opts to visit a range of ports en route and navigates through some of the 179,584 islands along the stunning Finnish coastline.

Race Director Mike Bowles, currently in Kotka awaiting the fleet’s arrival, said:

“As at midday (EEST) today all ships in the racing fleet have now crossed the finish line and are making their way over the next couple of days to Kotka. Some will come directly, and indeed the first have already arrived including Shabab Oman ll (Oman), Belle Poule (France), Kapitan Borchardt (Poland) and Sorlandet (Norway) – a nice mixture of nationalities to start the fleet – Oman, France, Poland and Norway. Others will arrive this afternoon and others again are taking advantage of the opportunity to visit a port or two on the way. All ships must arrive in port in Kotka by midday local time on Thursday 13 July.

“The race has been challenging because of the light winds over the period which have kept captains and navigators focused. All ships will be looking forward to their port stay in Kotka and certainly arrangements for an excellent event are well in hand. I look forward to a first class event here in Kotka,”
Race Director, Mike Bowles, Sail Training International

The Polish-flagged Pogoria, who did not take part is Race 1, is making up ground on the rest of the fleet after a stop in Gdynia, Poland.

Once all vessels are in port and the Race Declaration forms have been received, the Race Committee will publish the results for Race 1 from Halmstad, Sweden, to Kotka, Finland.

Learning the ropes ON URANIA en route to Kotka

Maarten de Graaf, who is sailing on board HNLMS Urania (Urania), reports that they have been using their time productively whilst en route to Kotka and enjoying the glorious weather since finishing Race 1 on Sunday evening.

“Because there was barely any wind, it was quite a long race, but we have all survived it. Yesterday was a very useful and fun day as well. To start we had a man overboard exercise. Even though this exercise wasn’t entirely without its faults, it was quite useful. Afterwards our boatswain introduced us to the topic of replenishment at sea and things connected to that topic. Luckily, the weather has been great today, so we concluded our day with a lovely barbeque.”

Exciting line-up of events awaits the international crews

There’s an action-packed programme of events lined up for the crews in Kotka, Finland, kicking off with an Opening Ceremony at 15:00 on Thursday and the prestigious Captains’ Dinner later the same evening. The City Harbour festival area surrounding the iconic Maritime Centre Vellamo is set to be abuzz with entertainment, family activities and live music over the coming days as crowds flock to the city to see the international Tall Ships fleet.

On Friday afternoon the crews will parade through downtown Kotka to the Arto Tolsa Arena where the Prize-Giving Ceremony for Race 1 will be held. Later the same evening, the Crew Party is set to be a truly international get-together with trainees from vessels representing 20 different nations taking part in the Tall Ships Races 2017.

During the visit trainees will enjoy a range of sporting and cultural activities including traditional Finnish saunas, tug o’ war and tandem ski contests, indoor surfing, disk golf, street basketball tournament, a pulp bale rolling triathlon and the opportunity to take part in the Finland100 Strongest Man Competition.


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.

Follow the Fleet

Watch the action as it happens and follow the fleet’s progress using YB Satellite Tracking.

What’s Next?

Want to get involved with the Tall Ships Races 2017? There are still berths available – secure your place today! Check out our event page for more information. Book your place directly with a participating vessel.

Photo:A trainee climbs along the bowsprit of Astrid (Finland) during Race 1.