Current 2002 Tall Ships Race Info available at http://www.ista.co.uk
The official Tall Ships race is now organised by ISTA, (the International Sail Training Association), but was begun in the 1950's when a group of englishmen got talking and decided to try and gather all the remaining tall ships together for an international race. This race was held in 1956 from Torbay to Lisbon and proved to be so popular that it began a tradition of having a Tall Ship race every two years. Even this was not enough, and now the Tall Ships race annually, usually around European ports. In 2000 the race went further afield to mark the millenium and an epic transatlantic race was staged. This race started at Cadiz in Spain and finished at Amsterdam in the Netherlands, stopping at Bermuda, Boston and Halifax in-between.
The aim of the Tall Ships race is to bring together young people from all over the world, and give them an experience they will never forget, working alongside individuals from many other cultures and backgrounds. It is also a chance to experience life in the raw and gives you the opportunity to discover your strengths and weaknesses while working as a team, visiting fantastic places and seeing nature up close and personal.
Sailing any size of tall ship is a demanding job, whether you're scampering about in the rigging on a gigantic schooner like the Lord Nelson, or down in the galley preparing dinner for your ravenous crew on a Class C vessel like Morning Star of Revelation. However, the port visits give the crews some time to relax and there are always lots of events to take part in, like the crew parade (that nearly always disintegrates into a water fight) or various boat parties that happen regularly every night. Visited ports often lay on plenty of events as well, (firework displays are especially popular) and thousands of people flock to harbours to see the ships before they set off once again.
The Tall Ships race is a fantastic event to get involved in, whether you are part of a crew, or part of the vast army of volunteers who look after the boats when they are in port. Long may the event continue!