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Summer Tall Ships Race in Europe 2018

The Tall Ship Race of 2018

This summer's Tall Ship Challenge 2018, organised by Sail Training International, includes two Tall Ship Race legs in the open waters of the North Sea and one Cruise in Company around the spectacular Norwegian Coast.

Race 1 Sunderland to Esbjerg - 14th - 18th July 2018

It all begins on the quaysides of Sunderland on Tues 11th July.. The North East of England has has a great sense of community and there will be a huge local involvement at the start port for this series of tall ships races. The national press are saying that upto 1.5 million people will visit the port over the 5 days of the Tall ship Festival.  The Parade of Sail is on Saturday 14th July.


Sunderland Tall Ships Festival  - A Sailors Guide to Events


Esbjerg in Denmark has a history of hosting a truly tremendous event with over 600, 000 visitors and massive media coverage.

Tall Ship Cruise in Company - Norwegian Coasts & Fjords - 21st-28th July 2018

Stavanger is a long-time favourite of the Tall ships Races and home to some amazing historic sailing vessels. The fjord creates the perfect backdrop for the fleet of tall ships.

Tall Ship Race Leg 2 - Stavanger to Harlingen 29th July - 3rd Aug 2018

Harlingen in the Netherlands holds the record for recruiting the largest number of trainees ever and a the participation of the whole town will make a fantastic finale to this year’s Tall Ship Race.

ratlines on Oosterschelde - a three masted topsail schooner
ratlines on Oosterschelde - a three masted topsail schooner
Inspire me more

Tall Ships Race 2018 - The Maritime Event of the Summer

Classic Sailing is fortunate to be able to offer a wide range of tall ship racing experiences for those who want hands on sailing as ships crew. Tall Ships Races are perhaps the most intense voyage we offer in terms of sail handling, standing watches through the night, and pushing mighty ships as hard as they would have sailed when carrying profitable cargoes or chasing an enemy or prize ship. 

There are actually 3 tall ships races taking part in the world in 2018 - organised by Sail Training International. The Irish Sea and Biscay Race in May is fully booked on Classic Sailing ships but we have more vessels taking part in the main European Tall Ships Race during peak summer July and August. The third race is in the Far East, which is a new area for us and we don't have any Classic Sailing Ships near South Korea and Vladivostok. Maybe next time...,.

Tall Ships Races have classes for big square riggers, smaller gaff rigged ships and yachts
Tall Ships Races have classes for big square riggers, smaller gaff rigged ships and yachts. Photo from pilot cutter Agnes

Uniting Young People & Promoting International Friendship

Yes they are aimed at the youth of the world, but we do have berths for those of us over 25 on the Irish Sea and the Summer Tall Ships Race. Yippee.

Forget about the politics and do what young people have always done. Be curious about other cultures and talk to Russians, sailors from Finland, Norway, the Middle East, France, Brazil and more.

Looking astern when dawn breaks to find you have overtaken a huge four masted Russian ship or a sleek schooner after a night of exhausting sail changes and work aloft, creates an elation shared by the whole ship. Its all about the team - your watch, and the ships company - whatever your age or physical strengths. Before you know it, even the most disorganised person finds themselves preparing their clothes and boots so you can leap into them in an instant for 'all hands on deck' call.

There are also periods of reflection, where a whole fleet may be ghosting long in light winds, when normally the Captain might reach for the 'iron topsail' (engine) but in a race you just have to try every possible sail combination and tactical manoeuvres.


Smiles from Russia. Tall Ships Photographer Valery Vasilevskyi
Smiles from Russia. Tall Ships Photographer Valery Vasilevskyi


    Recommended vessels and why
    Oosterschelde is in the tall ships race and going to Cape Verde in the winter
    Oosterschelde is in the tall ships race and going to Cape Verde in the winter

    Oosterschelde - Historic Three mastered topsail schooner

    If you want an example of sail power, Oosterschelde is the real thing. A 'National Historic Monument' in the Netherlands, she is the only remaining working example of a large fleet of fast schooners that carried cargoes at the beginning of the last century. Her sleek lines and huge sail area has sailed her charter crews around the world twice including a rounding of Cape Horn purely under sail in 2013, and as far afield as the Arctic, Australia and Antarctica. It is not all hardcore sailing: Oosterschelde has the most spacious and elegant living space of all our fleet, and loves to explore warm places too like Cape Verde, the Caribbean, Brazil and Cuba.

    Read More about Oosterschelde & voyages


    Morgenster - Photo by Mikael Malmberg
    Morgenster - Photo by Mikael Malmberg

    Morgenster - Brig

    Morgenster is traditionally rigged as a brig, with square sails on her two masts. This 48m sail training vessel is well known in Holland, where she is based, and is making a name for herself further afield as an adventure charter vessel. Morgenster (Morning Star) has taken part in many International Tall Ships Races and is proven as a fast sailor. In the winter she has recently explored the Cape Verde and Canaries with charter guests.


    Read More About Morgenster & voyages


    Maybe is a regular tall ship racer
    Maybe is a regular tall ship racer

    Maybe - Gaff Ketch

    Maybe is very much a sail training vessel and her style of sailing is very 'hands on' but with a lot of patient instruction. Maybe's skipper Grace and mates are not afraid to shape a great team from all age ranges and encourage all abilities to do well in every aspect of ship board life, from cooking to standing watch. British owned Maybe is a regular contender in the International Tall Ships Races and regattas and they always seem to be having a lot of fun.


    Read more about Maybe and voyages


    Tall Ship Lord Nelson at a Tall Ship festival in Tasmania

    Lord Nelson - Barque built for able bodied and disabled crew

    Lord Nelson was the first tall ship in the world to be designed and built to enable people of all physical abilities to sail side by side on equal terms. One of Britain's most well known sail training ships, Lord Nelson frequents ports all around the UK and Europe with a mix of day sails and longer square rig adventures. In 2012-14 she proved that disabled and able bodied crews could take a square rigger safely around the world and have great adventures together from Antarctica to Australia. A great GAP year or career break experience for your CV and it might just change your life.

    or you can go racing on her....

    Read More About Lord Nelson and voyages


    Bowsprit view of Bark Europa
    Europa in Falklands Sound

    Bark Europa - Barque & Antarctic Specialist

    Bark Europa has a reputation as an ocean wanderer and follows the great trade wind routes around the world. She offers a sea faring adventure and a unique way to explore and learn about nature and the elements. She is equally at home in the roller-coasters of the ‘roaring forties’ or in lighter tropical conditions where she can set an awesome suite of 30 sails.  In 2001 Europa pioneered the first opportunity for ordinary people to experience an Antarctic Expedition as crew on a square rigger. Since then she has returned to the Antarctica every year. Images of Europa under full sail or anchored amongst the ice and penguins have graced many magazines and lured non sailors and experienced seafarers off on epic ocean adventures. 

    Read more about Europa & voyages


    Tenacious in a European tall ships race

    Tenacious - UK Wooden Barque

    Tenacious was the first wooden tall ship in the world to be designed and built to enable people of all physical abilities to sail side by side on equal terms. Not only does she take a mixed ability crew, many disabled volunteers help in the building of 'Big Woody.' She is the biggest sail training ship in the UK tall ship fleet, and her thorough crew training is a great square rig introduction for beginners. With a repertoire of voyages from Southampton day sails to Southern Ocean roller coaster rides, Tenacious can fit the tall ship dreams of all ages and abilities.

    Learn more about Tenacious & voyages



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