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Tall Ships Races 2017: Record crowds in Turku as fleet bids farewell to Finland in style

Posted on: 23.07.17

Record crowds gathered in Turku, Finland, to bid farewell to the Tall Ships Races 2017 fleet on Sunday (23 July) ahead of the start of Race 2 from Turku to Klaipeda tomorrow.

The River Aura provided a perfect backdrop for the explosion of vibrant colour, music and energy as the 81-strong fleet of vessels headed out into the Archipelago of Turku. The fleet staged a spectacular Parade of Sail surrounded by a flotilla of hundreds of vessels in glorious sunshine and a light westerly breeze at the end of a hugely successful four-day visit.

President of finland joins send-off flotilla

Amongst the well-wishers out on the water in glorious sunshine and a light westerly breeze was the President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö, who was on board the presidential yacht to view the spectacular Parade of Sail to mark the fleet’s departure from Finland after visits to Kotka and Turku.

‘Record visitors’ in turku

As the fleet departed, the City of Turku announced that the fleet’s fifth visit to the city had attracted record crowds.

“This has been the best edition of the Tall Ships Races of all time here in Turku. The atmosphere was awesome and we set a new visitor record for the Tall Ships Races. The first estimate of visitor numbers is a total of 544,000,” Kimmo Hyyppä, Turku’s Tall Ships Races 2017 Project Manager, said.

Knut Western, Race Chairman for the Tall Ships Races 2017, said:

“The Tall Ships fleet’s visit to Turku for a record fifth time has been a resounding success. The River Aura has once again provided a superb intimate location for the fleet, giving visitors a close-up view of the diverse range of vessels taking part in this year’s event.

“The young people taking part in the Tall Ships Races 2017, who represent a total of 31 nations, will set sail today with lifelong memories of their time in this beautiful city. They have received an incredibly warm welcome, taken part in numerous sporting and cultural activities and forged many international friendships during their stay.

“We’re delighted that around 50 young people from Turku are on board various vessels in the fleet for Race 2 from Turku to Klaipeda and I have no doubt that their experiences will create a lasting legacy for the event. These trainees will become great ambassadors for sail training and support Turku’s on-going collaboration with the Sail Training Association of Finland.

“On behalf of all the crews setting sail today and the entire team at Sail Training International, I would like to express our heartfelt thanks to the excellent team here in Turku, especially the large number of dedicated volunteers, who have worked tirelessly to make this event such a phenomenal success.

“By hosting the Tall Ships Races 2017 so successfully, Turku has yet again proved itself to be a world-class venue for major events such as ours, and we very much look forward to returning to Turku in the future.

Turku provides ‘great example’ for sail training legacy

Sail Training International’s Commercial Director Paul Thompson, who held a Host Port Seminar in Turku to coincide with the fleet’s visit said that the city is a “great example” of how host ports can work with national sail training organisations to promote on-going opportunities for young people.

“We’d like to extend our thanks to the City of Turku, not only for giving the Tall Ships Races 2017 crews such a warm welcome, but also for showing the delegates from 18 other Tall Ships host cities not only how to successfully host a large scale Tall Ships event, but also how to provide on-going sail training opportunities for young people.”

“Through its long-standing collaboration with the Sail Training Association Finland, Turku is an excellent example of how a host city can work closely with its national sail training body to provide year-round opportunities for young people beyond the visit of the Tall Ships Races fleet,” he said.

Russian trainee ‘proud’ to set sail on Kruzenstern

Among the crew setting sail on board Kruzenstern (Russia) today was 21-year-old Sarvar Zakirov, who is a fourth year student at Kalingrad State Technical University.

“I feel really proud to be part of the Kruzenstern crew. It is a great opportunity for Russian sailors and students to practice their maritime skills,” he said.

Race 2 from Turku to Klaipeda in Lithuania will start tomorrow afternoon with the Class A vessels starting in a 20-minute window from 14:00, Class B at 14:30, Class C at 1445 and Class D at 15:00.

About the Tall Ships Races 2017

The Tall Ships Races 2017 is taking place in four different countries and five ports, with three exciting race legs across the Baltic Sea and a spectacular Cruise-in-Company. The event has attracted an incredible fleet of more than 100 vessels, and participation from an awesome number of trainees from around the world. There are trainee places available on each of the race legs and the Cruise-in-Company – book your place directly with a participating vessel.

Follow the Fleet

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

get on board?

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: The Tall Ships Races 2017 fleet departs from Turku ahead of the start of Race 2 on Monday.