The ships taking part
Atyla (Vanuatu), Class B – The wooden schooner Atyla was built by hand in Spain between 1980 and 1984. She was designed to look like the sailing vessels from the 1800s and built with the intention of circumnavigating the earth and then becoming a training ship, she has been a dedicated sail training ship since 2013.
She is one of the very few handmade wooden-hulled Tall Ships in the world that is still in operation.
The Atyla International Training Ship Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation registered in Spain. The ship is still owned and operated by the same family who built her over 30 years ago.
Blue Clipper (UK), Class A – Tall Ship Blue Clipper was built in 1991 at Feab Marstrandsverken in Sweden and is a spacious and luxuriously furnished three masted Topsail Schooner. In the construction of the hull, modern elements are mixed with traditional ones, such as a clipper bow, an elegant yacht stern and a long ballast keel. The teak deck was built on top of steel plates.
The Gulden Leeuw was built in 1937 as an ocean-going ice class ship under the name Dana.
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Gulden Leeuw (Netherlands), Class A –
During a period of service for the Danish government, she was frequently used for marine biological research in International waters.
In the 1980's she was used as an offshore support ship, and after that the Danish Nautical School used her to train their students to become experienced seamen. In 2007 P&T Charters bought the Dana and transformed her into a three-masted topsail schooner, called Gulden Leeuw. Since 2010 she has been sailing with sail trainees throughout the European waters.
Jolie Brise (UK), Class B – Jolie Brise is a world famous, 24-metre, Gaff Rigged Pilot Cutter. Built in 1913, some of her many claims to fame throughout the history of the Tall ships Races include: overall winner of the Tall Ships Races 1980, overall winner of the Tall Ships 2000 Transatlantic Race programme, overall winner of the Tall Ships Races 2008, overall winner of the Tall Ships Races 2011, 2015 and 2016.
Picton Castle (Cook Islands), Class A – Picton Castle is a fully certified and registered Cook Islands tall ship whose mission is deep-ocean sail training and long distance education voyages. Picton Castle is perhaps best known for her World Circumnavigations, though she has visited the Great Lakes twice, sailed numerous times on tours of the East Coast of the Americas, completed a Caribbean Voyage and in 2008 sailed to Europe, Africa and the Caribbean on a Voyage of the Atlantic. In 2012 she sailed for the South Pacific. Picton Castle's unofficial home port in Canada is Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, but she is formally registered in the Cook Islands and subject to that country's regulatory regime.
Rona II (UK), Class C– Rona II, an Oyster 68, is one of three vessels operated by the Rona Sailing Project. She was built in 1991 and since then has become one of the hardest working and most resilient Oyster yachts in the world. She has taken more than 7,200 young people sailing, has completed 21 international and three Transatlantic Tall Ships campaigns, and has sailed more than 250,000nm in her career to date.
Vahine sails around 42,000 nautical miles a year, spending the winter in Caribbean waters.
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Vahine (Finland), Class C– Vahine is a legendary Nautors Swan 65. The first ever series-built vessel to win the famous Whitbread Round the World Race.
Wylde Swan (The Netherlands), Class A – Wylde Swan has a long and storied history, with her hull starting life as a “herring hunter” in the 1920's. Her early days were spent working off the Shetland Islands, ferrying the fresh catch from fishing grounds to the markets ashore. The Jemo, as she was originally called, was originally built in Kiel, Germany, and it wasn't until much later that she was recognised as the perfect vessel for fast sailing.
Sorca 3 (Canada), Class B was built in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia by Murray Stevens. Four generations of the Stevens family have handcrafted Nova Scotia schooners – from Amos Stevens at the beginning of the century to his great-grandson Murray.
Originally built in 1978, Sorca (Gaelic word meaning “brightness”) was extensively upgraded at Berthon's shipyard in the UK and is well proven in both coastal cruising and numerous safe, speedy trans-Atlantic crossings. In 1984 she sailed as a Tall Ship in the trans-Atlantic race from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Liverpool, England. Sorca returns as a Tall Ship vessel under the ownership of Think Sail Inc.
Spaniel 3 (Latvia) ,Class C) was designed and built in Poland in 1979 as a single handed ocean racer. In 1980, Polish Yachtsmen took line honours in the Ostar 80 race after a 19 day Westward Atlantic Crossing. From 1982-97, the Academy of Science for research and occasional cruising and racing used Spaniel.
Privately owned since 1997, Spaniel is engaged in Sail Training for Latvian youngsters and enjoyed successes in the many of the Tall Ships Races.
Alexander von Humboldt II (GermanySpir), Class A is a German sailing ship originally built in 1906 by the German shipyard AG Weser at Bremen as the lightship Reserve Sonderburg. She was operated throughout the North and Baltic Seas until being retired in 1986. Subsequently, she was converted into a three masted barque by the German shipyard Motorwerke Bremerhaven and was re-launched in 1988 as Alexander von Humboldt
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Amerigo Vespucci (Italy), Class A
In 1925, the Regia Marina ordered two school ships to a design by General Lieutenant Francesco Rotundi of the Italian Navy Engineering Corps, inspired by the style of large late 18th century 74-cannon ships of the line (like the neapolitan ship “Monarca”). The first, the Cristoforo Colombo, was put into service in 1928 and was used by the Italian Navy until 1943. After the Second World War, this ship was handed over to the USSR as part of the war reparations and was shortly afterwards decommissioned.
The second ship was the Amerigo Vespucci, built in 1930 at the (formerly Royal) Naval Shipyard of Castellammare di Stabia (Naples). She was launched on February 22, 1931, and put into service in July of that year.
The vessel is a full rigged three-masted steel hull 82.4 m (270.34 ft) long, with an overall length of 101 m (331 ft) including the bowsprit and a maximum width of 15.5 m (51 ft). She has a draught of about seven metres (23 ft) and a displacement at full load of 4146 tons. Under auxiliary diesel-electric propulsion the Amerigo Vespucci can reach 10 knots (19 km/h) and has a range of 5450 nm at 6.5 knots.
Other than during the Second World War, the Amerigo Vespucci has been continually active. Most of her training cruises are in European waters, but she has also sailed to North and South America, and navigated the Pacific. In 2002, she undertook a voyage around the world.
The Amerigo Vespucci often takes part in sailing parades and Tall Ships' Races, where she is in amicable rivalry with the Gorch Fock. When she is berthed in port, public tours of the vessel are usually offered.
Oosterschelde (Netherlands), Class A
Oosterschelde has sailed as far as the Arctic and Antarctica and sailed around the world twice, including a rounding of Cape Horn purely under sail in 2013.
The ship is the only remaining example of a large fleet of schooners that sailed under the Dutch flag at the beginning of the last century.
Oosterschelde was built in 1917 as a cargo carrying sailing ship and continued to trade under sail in Northern European Waters, the Mediterranean and the North Coast of Africa under until the 1930s when she was converted into a modern coaster.
A charitable foundation restored her to sail and she is now registered as a 'historic national monument' by the Dutch Government. Classic Sailing now have four ships that are registered historic ships in their own country, but earn their living at sea as adventure charter vessels.
HMCS Oriole (Canada), Class B is the sail training vessel of the Royal Canadian Navy based at CFB Esquimalt in Victoria, British Columbia. She is a sailing ketch, currently the oldest commissioned vessel in the Royal Canadian Navy, and also the longest serving commissioned ship. Originally the yacht Oriole IV, the vessel was first acquired by the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War, then returned to private ownership at the end. Oriole IV was reacquired during the Cold War for use on the East Coast of Canada before switching to the West Coast of Canada permanently in 1956.
Pride of Baltimore II ((USA), Class B is a reproduction of an 1812-era topsail schooner privateer. She is owned and operated by the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization Pride of Baltimore, Inc. Continuation of Pride II's mission is contingent on private funding.
For more than 25 years, Pride has been sailing throughout the world promoting good will.
Spirit of South Carolina (USA), Class B is a 140-foot, traditional sailing vessel called a schooner, a type of sailing vessel of archetypal American design dating to approximately the 1800s. The American schooner type achieved world-wide fame when, in 1851, the American schooner America defeated a fleet of British yachts in a race circumnavigating the Isle of Wight to win what came to be known as the America's Cup. Spirit of South Carolina's design closely resembles that of the 19th century Charleston Harbor pilot schooner Frances Elizabeth which in turn was based on the famous schooner America.
Peter von Danzig (Germany), Class C
Trainees on board Peter von Danzig learn offshore sailing. She is 17 meters long and has 12 crew members who work together to sail the oceans.
On deck, Peter von Danzig is sailed as a sporting regatta yacht. This means that there are no rolling sails, each sail change is prepared by hand and performed by the team. You can look for electric winches, but you'll use muscle power, just like on professional regattas.
Regina Germania (Germany), Class C
Regina-Germania was built in 1980 in Hamburg, Germany. Her hull is made of steel and once the outside of the vessel was complete, the owner, Erich Herrman, and his family fitted out the interior taking four years to do so.
She was completed and launched in 1984 and since 1991 has regularly taken part in The Tall Ships Races. She sails with a crew of six including the captain.
Spaniel 3 (Latvia), Class C
Spaniel is a really fast ship with a unique history (from a single-handed OSTAR racer to a sail training yacht with a crew of 12).
Spirit of Bermuda (Bermuda), Class B
Spirit of Bermuda is a purpose-built sail training vessel based on civilian Bermudian-type schooners built in Bermuda by blacks and whites between 1810 and 1840. The original hull shape was adapted from the Bermuda-built Royal Navy “Shamrock” class: fast dispatch / patrol vessels that ran from the Royal Naval Dockyard northwest to Halifax and southwest to Jamaica to contain the rebel colonies.
The civilian Bermuda schooners were world-renowned for their speed, maneuverability, and the expert seamanship of the multi-racial Bermudian crews that sailed them.
Spirit carries the famed 'Bermuda' rig which originated on the coastal Bermuda sloops that abounded in the 17th and 18th centuries and in the early part of the 19th century. Faced with impassable pathways by land, Bermudians evolved the lateen rig to transit island waters, much of which involved sailing upwind. Equally, the fishing banks were upwind of the islands and the evolved 'Bermuda rig' gave the islanders much better upwind performance.