Three ports across Europe are getting ready to follow in Sunderland’s footsteps and host The Tall Ships Races.
Esbjerg in Denmark, Harlingen in Holland and Stavanger in Norway have been chosen as the other destinations for this year’s prestigious event and each can’t wait to welcome the fleet.
We caught up with Knud Helge Robberstad who is the project manager for the Stavanger leg of the truly international event.
He said: “Stavanger is delighted that more than 60 tall ships have signed up.”
But the port is no stranger to the event and has welcome the fleet three times before – in 1997, 2004 and 2011.
Knud added: “In 2018, the fleet will again berth in the historic heart of the city with all facilities within walking distance – and with all the amenities of a modern harbour. We aim to provide a unique programme of activities based on our maritime traditions and heritage mixed with our modern culture and spectacular scenery – to cater for all tastes and ages – including visiting crew.”
We aim to provide a unique programme of activities based on our maritime traditions and heritage mixed with our modern culture and spectacular scenery – to cater for all tastes and ages – including visiting crewKnud Helge Robberstad
But what can visitors to Stavanger expect between July 26 and July 29?
Knud said it would be a “spectacular four-day festival taking care of the needs of the ships and their crews at the same time as providing an opportunity for the regional population and visitors from further afield to meet the ships and learn about our maritime history.
“There will be a cultural programme of music, concerts and art performances together with market stalls catering for the needs of the visitors. Also, we aim to send several hundred crew on a one-day hike to the world-famous Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen) rock formation – a must when you visit Stavanger.
“Our overall aim is to give the ships and crew a pleasant stay in Stavanger to make them good ambassadors for Stavanger and our region.”
Like all ports, one of the main Stavanger aims is to promote sailing to a new generation of trainees.
Knud said: “We sent 50 trainees in 2017 to make young people aware of this opportunity, and there will be a TV series from this voyage presented on one of our local TV stations from this May. For 2018 we aim to send more than 200 trainees, and we encourage people over 25 to go sailing, too.”
The ships heading for Stavanger will also be taking part in a Cruise-In-Company scheme where they visit smaller harbours