TALLINN - Watch out, ladies, the sailors have docked. Tallinn's passenger port will be swimming with captains, admirals, skippers and the occasional pirate May 7 and 8 during the second annual Admiralty Sea-days. And the celebration is no better excuse for landlubbers to get their feet wet.
Sea-faring folk will tell you, there's nothing more beautiful than a wooden schooner, her sails billowing in the wind, her bow rocking with each wave. Iris is her name. And she's graced Tallinn with her elegant presence. Built in 1940, Iris has had a life-long romance with the Baltic Sea. The Finnish beauty will surely steal more than one man's heart this year, despite her age.
Like last year, Iris will be accompanied by an entourage of historic ships 's the submarine "Lembit," built in 1930 in England, the Swedish steam-boat "Kirvesniemi," built in 1881, and Russia's steamship "Admiral," built in 1955, among other attractive vessels. Guests can vicariously live-out their sailing dreams, invited to explore the ships from stern to bow.
The Steamship Admiral was built in St. Petersburg at the Dubitski shipyard. Along with hundreds of its sister-ships, the Admiral was intended to serve the Soviet Navy as an auxiliary ship. In the early days, the crew had 22-24 members. Coal was used as fuel and there was, and still is, a 500 IHP triplex steam engine in the heart of the ship. With a caisson and cannon mounted to the deck, the line for this ship is sure to be filled with wide-eyed boys and their even wider-eyed fathers.
Meanwhile, the ladies can spend the afternoon strolling along the sun-drenched pier with their parasols. There will be plenty of tasty delicacies to indulge in, as well as music, competitions and sea-themed activities for the whole family. Peg-legged captains will teach children how to tie sailor knots, while fishing, sailing, rowing and tug-of-war will be open to all. Competition winners won't leave empty-handed, as event organizers are giving away free trips to Finland, among other prizes.
So whether you've always dreamed of being somebody's skipper, or just have a soft spot for maritime festivities, Admiralty Sea-days is worth the visit. Who knows, maybe a gust of salty ocean-air will wake up the sailor within you, and pull you out to sea.