Sunderland wins bid to bring Tall Ships Race to the Wear

Mon, 03 November 2014

SUNDERLAND is celebrating today after winning its bid to host the Tall Ships Race.

The city has been named as one of the home ports for the 2018 prestigious maritime extravaganza.

Once the largest shipbuilding town in the world, civic leaders expressed their delight at the announcement.

Leader of Sunderland City Council, Coun Paul Watson said: “This is fantastic news that Sunderland has been chosen as a host port for The Tall Ships races in 2018.

“This success reflects the enthusiastic response from partners, organisations and individuals across the whole region who supported our bid.

“It shows once again our strengths for holding and hosting events such as The Sunderland International Airshow, stadium concerts and the Sunderland Illuminations.

“This is a great event for everyone to experience and enjoy our river. There are going to be many opportunities for young people in terms of volunteering, developing new skills and making new friends during the event.

“I hope everyone takes advantage of the opportunities this is bringing and joins us to make it a truly memorable experience for the crews as we welcome them to the ‘home of shipbuilding’.”

Dates for the 2018 event are still to be confirmed, but some of the proposed berthing areas for the Tall Ships will be where great sailing vessels like the Adelaide and Torrens were built, the latter being the fastest passenger clipper to cross from London to Adelaide in the late 19th century.

Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council, Coun Harry Trueman added: “It is great news for the city and gives us all yet another positive goal to work towards.

“Between now and then, the only other chance to see these magnificent ships in the UK will be in Belfast next year.

“This goes to show that we continue to gain hard-earned recognition as a great city to hold events.

“I am sure both residents and visitors enjoy this festival of sailing and take pride in our significant contribution to the history of ship design and building.”

Council bosses received the good news in a letter from Tall Ships Races organisers Sail TrainingInternational.

Paul Bishop, Head of the Race Directorate at STI, said: “There are a myriad of factors that need to be considered when selecting ports and planning a Tall Ships Race series and many people are brought into the process to bring in their expertise, knowledge and judgement.

“Planning for a new race series starts four years in advance and we are delighted with the Board of Directors choice of ports for 2018, which we are confident will all deliver high-quality events with excellent support for sail training.

“We are always looking for opportunities to include new destinations in our race itinerary. Sunderland has a great reputation for hosting large-scale events and with its excellent location and the whole community behind them, I’m sure it will be a great success.”

Gary Hutchinson, chairman of the Sunderland Business Group added: “This is excellent news for this city following a great deal of hard work from all partners involved in the bid.

“It is a statement from the city of our intent, along with our ability to attract and deliver some of the biggest events in the world. We have a strong collaborative approach which will ensure both the city and the region work together to deliver these world class events in 2018. The events will deliver excellent benefits to the city in terms of both profile and development of the economy with estimated benefit of £50million.

“The hard works in terms of planning starts now and we look forward to working together to deliver.

The Tall Ship races are open to any mono-hull sailing vessel of more than 9.14m water line length, provided that at least half of the crew is aged between 15 and 25 years old and that the vessel meets strict safety equipment requirements.

The arrival of the Tall Ships will be the latest chapter in the history of sailing on the Wear.

The city is regarded as one of the early centres for the sport, with sailing having been organised on the river for more than 160 years by Sunderland Yacht Club or its predecessors.

The current club has been in existence since 1912 and celebrates its 106th anniversary year with The Tall Ships Races 2018.

Next year, the Tall Ships Race will visit Belfast but will not return to the UK until Sunderland three years later. Previously it has come to the north east in Hartlepool in 2010 and Newcastle-Gateshead in 2005.


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