For a few days last week, Helsinki hosted The Tall Ships Races 2013, an event bringing together more than a hundred sailing vessels from around the world under the Sail Training International non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the development and education of young people through the sail training experience. Any monohull vessel with a waterline length of more than 9.14m fulfilling the safety requirements can participate provided that at least half of the crew is aged between 15 and 25.
Every four years, The Tall Ships Races take place on the Baltic Sea. This time the first leg started from Aarhus, Denmark, on Sunday July 7 and the fastest ships reached Helsinki on Monday July 15. From Wednesday to Saturday all the ships were berthed for everyone to admire in Hietalahti on the western coast of Helsinki close to the city centre. Almost everyone came to have a stroll around the harbour area with their camera as the tall ships hadn’t been seen in Helsinki since 2000.
|Mir from Russia.|
|Cisne Branco from Brazil and Roald Amundsen from Germany.|
|Cisne Branco from Brazil.|
|Tenacious from the UK.|
I am sure everyone who attended was most pleased and impressed. We certainly were. We drove to Helsinki twice just for the ships, first on Friday to see the glorious sight of them berthed in the harbour and then on Saturday to witness them gliding away from Helsinki towards the second leg to Riga, Latvia (my post on the departure here).
|Statsraad Lehmkuhl from Norway and Wylde Swan from the Netherlands.|
|Shtandart from Russia.|
|Götheborg from Sweden.|
|Alexander von Humboldt II from Germany and Fryderyk Chopin from Poland.|
Above another of the many main attractions: Alexander von Humboldt II, a German training ship.
|Kruzenstehrn from Russia.|
For some reason the Russian training ship Kruzenstehrn, one of the world’s largest sailing vessels, had been moved outside the event area but despite the rain we spotted it in the distance. They were probably preparing to host some special guests away from the bustle on the last night before setting sail towards the next destination.
|Mir from Russia in the distance.|
These must be crew members as the Hietalahti harbour area was closed for visitors’ boats. There was so much to see it was impossible to notice every detail. Below a few of the beautiful figureheads that managed to catch my eye.
|Cuauhtemoc from Mecixo.|