Tall Ships return to the UK with Hartlepool hosting in July

Nearly 40 tall ships will be berthed in the UK next month as the Tall Ships Races return to the North East port of Hartlepool.

Hartlepool, in the Tees Valley, is hosting The Tall Ships Races 2023 in July, which will feature the international fleet of Tall Ships and Small Ships as they take part in their epic journey, visiting up to five ports in 39 days.

The four-leg event, which covers more than 1,000km in total, travels from Den Helder to Hartlepool during Race One, and from Hartlepool back across the North Sea to Fredrikstad for Race Two.

Following this, the Tall Ships fleet will take part in a stunning Cruise-in-Company taking them from Fredrikstad to Lerwick, the capital of the Shetland Islands, visiting inlets and islands along the way. The event will then conclude with a nail-biting Race Three back East to Arendal.

With a total of 59 ships taking part, from 17 different nations, the races offer a unique insight into maritime history and culture.

In fact, two of the boats are making their first foray into European waters: Indonesia’s Bima Suca and Uruguay’s Capitan Miranda.

Among the vessels taking part are a number of military boats, six of which will be present when the race calls at Hartlepool. They are the Belle Poule, from France; the Bima Suci, from Indonesia; the Capitan Miranda, from Uruguay; the Orsa Maggiore, from Italy; the Urania, from the Netherlands; and the Zenobe Gramme, from Belgium.

The oldest vessel taking part is the Class B Swan, from the UK, which was launched in 1900, while both the Betty from Denmark and the Jolie Brise from the UK are 110 years old.

Meanwhile, the youngest vessel taking part is the Bima Suci, from Indonesia, a Class A boat that was only launched in 2017, making her six years old.

In a poignant note, Polish crews on board the Tall Ships will take the opportunity to pay tribute to a Polish sailor who died in World War Two, and is buried in Hartlepool.

On 26 November 1939 Captain Mamert Stankiewicz lost his life after the transatlantic war transporter Piłsudski was torpedoed by the German U-boat. He was the last to leave the sinking ship, after making sure that his crew were safe.

Capt. Stankiewicz was a Polish patriot who fought in both world wars and trained the first generation of Polish navy officers in the independent Poland. He was buried with military honours at the West View Cemetery in Hartlepool, close to where the Piłsudski sank. The crews from the Tall Ships attending from Poland plan to visit his grave to pay their respects.

The races offer an opportunity for young people from participating countries to hone their sailing skills and gain confidence on water.

Nearly 90 youngsters from Hartlepool and the surrounding areas, including eight teenagers from the Hartlepool Sea Cadets, will be on board, all between the ages of 15 and 24. To fund their trip, some have been sponsored partially or fully by business or charity, while others have raised the money needed through hosting their own events for friends and family. Meanwhile, the Sea Cadets’ flagship ship TS Royalist will also be arriving at the event.

Alongside the ships, there will be a host of exciting events during their time in Hartlepool, from Thursday 6 to Sunday 9 July.

The free event, which requires no ticket, will also feature more than 100 live music and entertainment acts, with indie rock band Maximo Park headlining on the Friday and acclaimed reggae band The Wailers on the Saturday.

Ships Montly - January 2024

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