Bermuda Tall Ships Festival
400 years ago an ancient Tall Ship named the Sea Venture
happened across this perilous reef encircled island in a raging hurricane. The crew marooned, made the best of what shelter the island gave them and thus Bermuda was settled.
This week a flotilla of 22 Tall Ships will idle over the horizon and onto this sunsoaked shore, and a party awaits these majestic watercraft and their crew, most of whom are in a 7,000 nautical, three month race. The race, the Atlantic Challenge started in Vigo
, Spain at the end of April to Tenerife
and then from the Canaries 2,600 nautical miles to Bermuda
. The race then continues to Charleston
, Halifax in Nova Scotia
and finally ends in Belfast
during the middle of August.
The 2nd leg of the race actually ended over a week ago as the lack of wind and completely flat sea conditions left these huge vessels almost motionless out in the Atlantic. Captains logged their positions and location and turned on their motors. Quite appropriately The Spirit of Bermuda
(top right) was first to show up on Bermuda's doorstep on Saturday and as rivals arrive in Bermuda they will first dock at either end of the island, St George's or Dockyard and then will make their way into Hamilton tomorrow afternoon for the start of the Tall Ships Festival
, slated to be the most memorable of Bermuda's 400th anniversary
The last time the Tall Ships came to Bermuda was in 1990 and given the huge task of organising these races they only happen on average once every 10-15 years, so all the more remarkable that 22 of the world's 57 Tall Ships, each with fascinating histories will spend their weekends here.
One of them, the Kruzenshtern
I will be lucky enough to be on tomorrow night. The 83-year old Russian owned ship is the 2nd largest Tall Ship in the world. Saturday some of the others are open to the public to tour and on Monday, which is now a bank holiday (sorry, didn't I mention that?), we will be out on the water watching the ships parade to the start line past Fort St Catherine
on the North Shore for the race to Charleston. More on the Tall Ships over the weekend.Current race standings / List of Tall Ships / Race tracking / Tall Ships Blog