Wednesday 21 March 2018

Tall Ships race to begin 2012 journey from Belfast

Michael McHugh

The Tall Ships race will begin in Belfast in 2015, the city council confirmed.

The event last visited in August 2009, attracting 800,000 people in four days. Thousands more lined the shores of Belfast Lough to watch the 40 vessels depart.

The city enjoyed a €18.5m boost to the economy last time and is expected to enjoy another bonanza when the competition arrives in July 2015.

Belfast mayor Niall O'Donnghaile said: "This is just the beginning of the journey, not the final destination. We are now turning Belfast's moment into an unstoppable momentum."

Next year marks the opening of Belfast's Titanic celebrations and MTV will return for an open air concert.

The mayor added: "The return of The Tall Ships Races is yet another very real endorsement of Belfast's ability - our now globally recognised 'can do' ability - to deliver world class events, and once again contributes to our reputation internationally, as well as adding to our value as a tourism destination and helping our citizens take real pride in what Belfast can offer both to locals and visitors alike."

Belfast hosted The Tall Ships Races in 1991 and 2009 and the city, port authority and council events team have built up an excellent reputation for looking after sail training Tall Ships and their trainees during these events, according to Sail Training International's head of racing Paul Bishop.

He said: "They also run a regional annual sail training programme which is at the heart of Sail Training International's objectives: the development and education of young people through the adventure of being at sea."

The Tall Ships Races summer series is the world's largest mass participation sailing event organised annually for young people with more than 6,000 young trainees taking part. Sail Training International also organises other international races and regattas for Tall Ships with no age restriction.

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