The fleet’s in port

  • 2013-07-24
  • By TBT staff

HOIST THE SAILS: Ships of yore are in Riga reminding visitors of days long past.

RIGA - After a ten year wait the sailing event “Tall Ships Races 2013” with its innumerable magnificent tall ships will visit Riga providing a unique visual pleasure for residents and guests of the city.

Over 800 years ago Riga was founded, thanks to its favorable location for the berthing of tall ships that delivered exotic spices, fine textiles, metal and other goods for further trade, and for selling further on in Europe and other countries of the world grain, fur, wax and other goods. The views over the port and sails have been an integral part of the city panorama for centuries – berths along the Daugava River ran deep into the city and were always in full swing – loading and unloading goods, making deals. The effervescent crowd through the pubs and stores filled with seamen and merchants flew into the old city, made it alive, active and interesting.

This sailing event will bring back those ancient feelings, which is one of its aims.
The origin of “The Tall Ships Races” dates back to 1956, when sailing enthusiasts came to the conclusion that tall ships have irreversibly yielded to modern ships, and in honor of the tall ships they organized a regatta from England to Portugal with the largest remaining tall ships from around the world.

Since then the sailing event has visited many European and world ports with one of its main tasks to train and educate young seamen in sailing, wherewith a strong rule is that half of each crew must be between the ages of 15 and 25 years.
For four days residents and guests of Riga will have the opportunity to see the ships, visit them, talk to the crews, and enjoy the magnificent Parade of Sails and other surprises from the ship crews and the city of Riga.

Ninety-nine training ships and yachts from about twenty countries, with a total of approximately 3,500 crew members representing 35 countries, will visit Riga during the “Tall Ships Races” international regatta that, in terms of significance and due to its major scale, will be on par with the celebration of the 800th anniversary of Riga.
There will be many interesting and exciting events to enjoy. The National Armed Forces will offer the public to visit the patrol ship “Skrunda;” there will be an exhibition of vintage cars, crews from the ships competing in the regatta will participate in a parade via Riga’s Old Town, plus the sailing ships will also participate in a spectacular parade as they leave Riga.

During the four day event, any Rigan or guest of the city will be able to board and tour the ships anchored at the Riga Port, and talk to the crews. The largest numbers of sailing ships arriving in Riga will be from Great Britain, Poland, Russia, Germany, Norway and Netherlands. The “Cisne Branco” will travel to Riga all the way from Brazil, and the “Shabab Oman” from Oman, the only sailing ship to win the main regatta prize, will also visit Riga. The oldest ships will be “Caroline af Sandes,” “Liv” and “Wyvern” from Norway, built in 1885, 1893 and 1897, respectively.

C-class yacht “Spaniel” and D-class yacht “Galaxy” will represent Latvia at the event.
 Riga will host the “Tall Ships Races” fleet from July 25-28. On Friday and Saturday the ships will be opened for the public. This spectacular event will finish with parade of sail on Sunday, July 28 when the fleet will leave Riga port to race to Szczecin, Poland, the final port of call.

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