Port of Blyth to host North Sea Tall Ships Regatta 2016

Blyth is to host the prestigiousNorth Sea Tall Ships Regatta 2016, an event involving some of the largest and most spectacular Tall Ships in the world, it was announced today.

The Tall Ships will sail into the port at Blyth over the weekend of 26-29 August2016, giving visitors the opportunity to see one of the greatest maritime sights in the world.

The Port of Blyth in association with Northumberland County Council and Sail Training International is hosting the prestigious event and a large number of people are expected to attend the Regatta which will be one of the biggest events ever held in the county.

Northumberland County Council leader, Councillor Grant Davey, said: “This is the first time that Northumberland has been awarded the honour of hosting the North Sea Tall Ships Regatta 2016 and it is going to be a fantastic maritime celebration. We are expecting huge interest in this world-famous event which offers residents and visitors an amazing chance to experience all the excitement of the Tall Ships fleet in port here at Blyth.”

Residents and tourists will have a chance to see some of the finest Tall Ships in the world and the weekend will be a festival of celebration with all kinds of events being organised including concerts, a sea battle, sporting competitions and a crew parade.

Martin Lawlor, Chief Executive, Port of Blyth, said: “We are delighted that the Regatta is coming to Blyth and look forward to welcoming the ships and their crews. Visitors will also get a great view of the ships in the main public quay areas and I am sure the event will prove hugely popular. As a Trust Port we are pleased to have played our part in securing the event for the benefit of our stakeholders and the region as a whole.”

The first Tall Ships Race in 1956 was a race of 20 of the world's remaining large sailing ships. The race was from Torbay, UK to Lisbon and was meant to be a last farewell to the era of the great sailing ships. However, public interest was so intense the Sail Training International Race Committee formed a founding organisation and has since organised Tall Ships Races and Regattas annually around the world, attracting hundreds of ships and millions of spectators.

Paul Bishop, Head of Race Directorate, Sail Training International, said: “Blyth’s association with the sea and ships has been a part of Northumberland’s heritage for centuries, so it is fitting that the North Sea Tall Ships Regatta will see the region committing to finding 50 young people to sail in the 500 nautical mile race to Gothenburg.

“Sail training is an activity that inspires self-confidence and personal responsibility and is the reason we have been organising Tall Ships Races and Regattas around the world since 1956. Northumberland’s trainees, aged between 16-25 years old, will have a unique sail training experience confronting demanding challenges, both physical and emotional. For many of them it will be a life-changing experience.”

Councillor Scott Dickinson, business chair for Northumberland County Council said: “We are delighted to have been chosen to host the North Sea Tall Ships Regatta 2016. It will give a tremendous boost to the economy and will put the county at the forefront of national and international media attention. The recent Regatta at Falmouth had a very positive impact attracting 100,000 visitors and generating over £12 million for the local economy and the event will be a great opportunity for individuals of all ages and organisations to be involved in a world-class event.”

Councillor Val Tyler, Policy Board member for Community Infrastructure and Culture at Northumberland County Council, said: “Tourism is one of the biggest industries in Northumberland and we are absolutely delighted to be hosting this exciting event which will showcase our wonderful county to the world.”

The starting host port for 2016 is the Port of Blyth, Northumberland and the first ships are expected to start arriving on Wednesday 24 August. As the harbour at Blyth is not affected by tides, the Regatta is expected to be a mobile one with ships able to sail in and out at any time. The ships will then set off on a race leg to Gothenburg which hosts the Tall Ships 3-6 September.

The first North Sea Regatta was held in 2010, racing from Hartlepool, UK to Ijmuiden, Netherlands. Thirty-one vessels of all classes from around the world took part in this launch event – including the magnificent Class A vessels Shabab Oman (Oman), Stad Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Santa Maria Manuela (Portugal).

The North Sea Tall Ships Regatta 2016

Blyth, UK Friday 26 - Monday 29 August 2016

Race (approximately 500 nautical miles)

Gothenburg, Sweden Saturday 3 – Tuesday 6 September 2016

For more information go to www.blythtallships2016.com