Jul 3

Tall Ships Racing Days

Age of Sail
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Lady Washington
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"We sail the ocean blue,
And our saucy ship's a beauty;
We're sober men and true,
And attentive to our duty."

~ We Sail the Ocean Blue, Gilbert & Sullivan, H.M.S. Pinafore, 1878

A traditional tall ship is a large, traditionally-rigged sailing vessel, including topsail schooners, brigantines, brigs and barques. The Tall Ships' Races held around the world are designed to encourage international friendship and training in the art of sailing. The first Tall Ships' race was held in 1956 with 20 of the world's remaining large sailing ships. This year, a three-leg event will see vessels sailing from early July through August from Aalborg, Denmark to Fredrikstad, Norway. The ships will then sail along the coast of Norway to Bergen, with visits to waypoints on the Skagerrak and North Sea, with a race back to Aarhus, Denmark! ⚓⚓⚓

The Tall Ships' Races are an annual summer series held in European waters, where ports along the route will host sailing festivals.  Between 1973 and 2003 the races were known as The Cutty Sark Tall Ships' Races after their sponsor, Cutty Sark whisky, a spirits company whose name referenced the famous namesake British sailing ship, the Cutty Sark.  The Cutty Sark was built on the River Clyde, Glasgow, Scotland in 1869 for the Jock Willis Shipping Line, and is one of the last tea clippers to be built before the advent of steam propulsion.

The Tall Ships' Races are races for sail training "tall ships" (sailing ships). The races are designed to encourage international friendship and training for young people in the art of sailing. The races are held annually in European waters and consists of two racing legs of several hundred nautical miles, and a "cruise in company" between the legs. Over one half (fifty-percent) of the crew of each ship participating in the races must consist of young people.

A tall ship is a large, traditionally-rigged sailing vessel. Popular modern tall ship rigs include topsail schoonersbrigantinesbrigs and barques.    Author and master mariner Joseph Conrad (who spent 1874 to 1894 at sea in tall ships and was quite particular about naval terminology) used the term "tall ship" in his works; for example, in The Mirror of the Sea in 1903, which suggests that the term was common parlance among his fellow mariners in the last quarter of the 19th century.

Traditional rigging may include square rigs and gaff rigs, usually with separate topmasts and topsails and is generally more complex than modern rigging, which utilizes newer materials such as aluminum and steel to construct taller, lightweight masts with fewer, more versatile sails. 

For more on this year's races, click the photo Lady Washington, one of the United States' West Coast Tall Ships, who often sails with the Hawaiian Chieftain.

Officially registered tartan graphics on this site courtesy of The Scottish Tartans Authority.  Other tartans from talented tartan artists may also be featured.

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