Tall Ships races one year on: Will the event be coming back to Sunderland?

The thrilling Tall Ships Races 12 months ago today brought in over a million visitors and made £13m.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 11 July, 2019, 06:00
Crowds gather to watch the ships leave Sunderland.

For four amazing days, 50 ships filled the port and the riverbanks as the event “promoted Sunderland on the international stage”.

But Sunderland is not planning to bid for a swift return of the event.

Coun John Kelly.

Sunderland City Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture, Councillor John Kelly. “We don’t have any intention at this stage to submit a bid to host a future Tall Ships event.”

Instead, Sunderland council is hoping to “recreate the same sense of excitement on both banks of the Wear with the first ever River Festival.”

Tall Ships Sunderland 2018 generated £13.2 million for the local and regional economy and left a lifetime of memories.

There was spectacular entertainment which ranged from the crew parade to high-wire walking above the Wear.

Class A giants on the River Wear.

Reflecting on last year’s Tall Ships event, Coun Kelly said: “It was fantastic to see this part of our famous riverside help host the Tall Ships, bringing people to these historic sites to celebrate our city’s maritime heritage.”

He said the event ‘promoted the city and helped establish Sunderland as a tourist destination’.

He added: “This year we continue to deliver year-round vibrancy within Sunderland, with an events programme that will see more visitors and more residents participating in cultural activities and events across the city including the riverside.”

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Sunderland’s Tall Ships leg featured four official days of the races as well as a preview day on July 10, 2018.

Ships fill the Wearside coastline during the spectacular Parade of Sail.

Coun Kelly said: “Over the five days of the Tall Ships Races we welcomed in the region of 1.2million visitors to our city to enjoy the spectacle of the event and the cultural and musical entertainment and activities taking place along the riverside at St Peter’s and Low Street and in the Port of Sunderland, which generating an estimated £13.2m into the local and regional economy.

“Hosting the Tall Ships Races promoted Sunderland on the international stage, capturing the imagination of people across the world and generating the equivalent £6 million of television, radio and newspaper magazine coverage.”

There were other legacies of it, including more than 300 Event Makers who helped with everything from assisting ships’ crews to advising visitors.

Coun Kelly added: “Many of these community-spirited people continue to volunteer at city events demonstrating what fantastic ambassadors they are for our city. Many of the community groups that came together during the event, also continue to work together for different community projects.

Wearmouth Bridge looked spectacular for the thrilling high-wire act during the Tall Ships celebration.

“Another legacy which can’t be underestimated is the fact that some of the young people who had an adventure of a lifetime as a sail trainee during Tall Ships Races Sunderland, continue to be involved in sailing….all of these are a legacy from the event.”

A view from one of the ships as it leaves Sunderland.
Thousands of visitors pictured arriving for the Sunderland leg of The Tall Ships Races.