Tall Ships At Greenwich

Rendezvous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta

If you are a fan of Tall Ships, then Greenwich, UK is the place to be during Easter weekend in April 2017, when it will host the start of the Rendezvous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta.

The regatta, organised by Sail Training International, will sail from Greenwich to Quebec in Canada, to mark the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation.

A fleet of over 30 large Class A and B square-rigged historic sailing ships will gather for four days on the River Thames at Greenwich and Woolwich before setting sail for Canada, calling at Sines in Portugal, Bermuda and Boston. The ships hail from countries including the UK, Portugal, Spain, Holland, Russia, and Germany.

The ships will be anchored in the Thames alongside two festival villages located at the Maritime Greenwich UNESCO World Heritage Site in Greenwich town centre and the Royal Arsenal riverside in Woolwich.

What and When

From Thursday 13th April to Sunday 16th April there will be maritime entertainment and live music to enjoy, while some ships will be open for visitors to view, get on board and talk to the crew.

On Sunday 16th April a huge Parade of Sail will start from Deptford Creek at 5pm. The whole Tall Ships fleet will then sail together down the Thames to the sea, race south to Sines in Portugal before crossing the Atlantic to Bermuda. From there they will race north, meeting the Tall Ships Challenge Atlantic Coast 2017 fleet in Boston before continuing to events in Quebec City and Halifax. The fleet will then race back to Europe for the final event in Le Havre, France.

The regatta is a great opportunity for young people to take part. Over 50 local youngsters will take advantage of sponsored places on board a tall ship and will sail to Portugal in the first leg of the regatta as part of an experienced crew, learning navigation and sailing skills.


Some of the Tall Ships taking part

The Christian Radich built in 1937 for the Merchant Navy of Norway. She is 73m in length and carries 27 sails with an area of 1360 square metres. She served for many years before eventually being converted for use as a sail training and charter ship in 1999.

The Aphrodite is a twin-masted brig based in Stavorah in the Netherlands from where she cruises the North Sea and the Baltic Sea taking 16 guests on overnight trips and up to 50 on day trips. She was built in 1994 and her design was based on drawings of brigs from the 19th century. The white ship has a steel hull, mostly wooden superstructure and is 38m in length and 6.6m in width. On the bow is a bold figurehead of the Greek goddess of Love, Aphrodite.

The Earl of Pembroke is a wooden, 3 masted barque designed and built to resemble the famous HMS Endeavour on which Captain Cook discovered Australia. The Endeavour was actually called \Earl of Pembroke in her early days when she worked as a coal trader in the West Country. Now this  truly magnificent tall ship is used for maritime festivals, charters, charity fund raising, corporate entertaining and film work.

The Loth Lorien was built in Norway in 1907 and originally sailed as a herring lugger, but after several modernisations and refits she has been transformed into a stunning barquentine with 4 new square sails. She is used as a cruising ship and can carry up to 90 passengers on day trips and has cabins for up to 34 people for overnight voyages.

The Tall Ship Royalist is a sail training ship built in 2014 to replace a previous ship of the same name. She entered service in 2015 and is rigged as a brig with a sail area of 536 square metres. She is 34 m long with a beam of 7.36m and has a crew of 8 plus up to 24 Cadets and 2 adult trainees.

The Santa Maria Manuela is one of the last remaining vessels built for the Portuguese White Fleet. She served as a fishing vessel up to 1993 before being stripped down and reconstructed to her original state. She now cruises around the world offering expedition and team building voyages as well as thematic and hospitality opportunities.

The Thor Heyerdahl (named after the Norwegian adventurer), was originally a freight carrying motor ship with auxiliary sails, before being bought in 1979 by two sailing enthusiasts who turned the run-down ship into a topsail schooner to use it for sail training for teenagers and young adults. From spring to autumn she sails mainly in the Baltic and participates in international sail training events, while during the winter she has repeatedly crossed the Atlantic and sailed in the Caribbean as a classroom under sails with teenage crews.

These are just a sample of the ships rendezvousing on the Thames this Easter; surely an opportunity not to be missed for both tall ships enthusiasts and photographers alike.

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