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Tall ships heading to River Mersey for Capital of Culture anniversary


30 April 2018

A 17-strong fleet of tall ships from across the world is heading to the River Mersey to help the city celebrate the 10th anniversary of its year as European Capital of Culture.

The spectacular fleet will return to the city for the fifth time for the Three Festivals Tall Ships Regatta, a free event which takes place between 25 and 28 May 2018.

The regatta, which is organised by Sail Training International, will see two other ports take part in the race, Dublin and Bordeaux.

Local people, under the age of 26, are being encouraged to join the race, which will finish in France.

Director of Culture, Claire McColgan, said: “The Tall Ships were one of the highlights of our 2008 Capital of Culture celebrations so it is fitting that they will make their return as we celebrate the 10th anniversary.

“The ships are an absolutely stunning sight and give visitors the rare opportunity to ‘come on-board’ for a closer look at these incredible vessels.

“As well as the ships, we have a packed programme of events running across the city, both day and night. It’s all set to be a completely unmissable weekend.”

The Tall Ships will be berthed on the Liverpool Cruise Terminal, Canning Dock, Canning Half Tide Dock and Albert Dock during the festival weekend. From 12pm on Friday 25 May – Sunday 27 May, visitors will be encouraged to ‘come on-board’ for a closer look.

The historic Lancashire Nobbies, or Morecambe Bay ‘prawners’, will take to the river on Saturday morning for their annual four-hour race on the Mersey.

And on Sunday 27 May, visitors will be able to see them at berth in the Albert Dock, where they will also be open for visits.

The highlight of the event will be the magnificent Parade of Sail at 12 noon on Bank Holiday Monday, 28 May, when the Tall Ships will make their way up and down the River Mersey, accompanied by a flotilla of other craft, before sailing for Liverpool Bay at the start of their race.

An exciting programme of activities is planned across Liverpool to celebrate the arrival of the ships.

Events include the “Changing Tides” creative programme, an exciting programme of international and local art works, installations, music, dance and theatrical performances commissioned by Culture Liverpool and part funded by Arts Council England.

Wine-lovers are also expected to flock to the waterfront as the world-renowned Bordeaux Wine Festival make its UK debut.

And there will also be a focus on getting young people aged under 26 from Merseyside involved in the race.

The Sail Trainee project, will see 50 local youngsters, aged from 16, join the crew of a tall ship on a 5-day voyage from Liverpool to Dublin.

The event sponsors includes the Mayor of Liverpool, Liverpool City Region, Arts Council England, Mayoral 100 Club, Fazenda, Liverpool BID Company, Heart North West, Arriva, Merseyrail, Sail on Board, St John’s Shopping Centre and University of Liverpool.

For more information visit


Which boats can you see?

Adventure Wales

The 60ft two-masted schooner was built for adventure and over the years she has circumnavigated the world and won First in Class in the famous Round the Island Race.


A historic ship, listed at the French heritage as the last witness of the artisanal fishing of Port Etel (a large French tuna port in the 50’s)


The two-masted wooden schooner handmade in Spain between 1980 and 1984 was designed by Esteban Vicente Jimenez to look like the Spanish vessels from the 1800s.


Having begun life as a cargo ship, this 120 year old vessel was once a private yacht for Hugh Grosvenor, the 2nd Duke of Westminster.

Belle Poule

This magnificent schooner was constructed in 1932 by the Chantier Naval de Normandie, in Fecamp, for the French naval academy (Ecole Navale).

Brian Ború

Named after the legendary High King of Munster and Ireland, this traditional gaff rigged wooden sailing ketch is the culmination of a 3 year renovation and conversion project.


A Centurion 47′, which was built in Wauquiez shipyard, and was donated in 2010 to the Ecole Navale, the French naval academy.

Juan de Langara

Owned by a group of sailors, who were inspired by the Cutty Sark Tall Ships’ Races in 1990, to buy their own boat.

La Malouine

La Malouine is a twin masted French Brigantine tall ship, registered in the Port of Dumfries.

Lord Nelson

Named after the famous British Admiral is the first of their two vessels, both of which are the only tall ships in the world that have been purpose designed and built to enable able-bodied and physically disabled people to sail side by side


This stunning ship has a rather famous history, built in 1929 and owned by Jan Jacob Van Rietschoten, father of the flying Dutchman, Cornelis ‘Conny’ Van Rietschoten, the only skipper to win the Whitbread Round the World Race twice. 


This 48m sail training vessel was originally built as a deep sea fishing vessel but was converted to a fine sailing ship in 2008

Pelican of London

Unique among Square Riggers, the Class A Tall Ship’s hull form was derived from the elite French clippers of the late 19th century.

 Royal Helena

The Tall Ship is a three-masted Bulgarian barquentine with a hull made of steel and a teak-covered deck. 

Sir Stelios & City of London

2018 is the first season for these two, new tall ships which are owned by the Marine Society & Sea Cadets. 

TS Royalist

The Sea Cadets flagship  was designed by Acubens, and built during 2014/2015 at the Spanish shipyard of Astilleros Gondan.


For more information, please contact Emma Gunby on 07702898780 or email [email protected]


About Sail Training International (STI)

STI is the international voice of Sail Training, a registered charity andnot-for-profit organization, which has worldwide membership and activities. Its purpose is the development and education of young people through the Sail Training experience, regardless of nationality, culture, religion, gender or social background. 

 STI organises the annual Tall Ship Races, which have operated since 1956, and other international Tall Ship sailing events. STI members are 29 national Sail Training organisations around the world. The organisation was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2007 for its work in promoting international understanding and friendship.


What is sail training?

Sail Training is an adventure activity, which includes far more than sailing instruction. Participants are required to confront demanding challenges, both physical and emotional. It is an activity that inspires self-confidence and personal responsibility. It promotes an acceptance of others, whatever their social or cultural backgrounds, and develops a willingness to take controlled risks. Those who undertake Sail Training on Tall Ships generally find it a positive life-changing experience.


For more information contact Ben Clark, Digital Marketing and Communications Manager, Sail Training International, Charles House, Gosport Marina, Mumby Road, Gosport, Hampshire, UK  PO12 1AH  

Tel: +44 (0) 23 9258 6367  

Email: [email protected]

Liverpool 2018 programme

Ten years since its game-changing year as European Capital of Culture, Liverpool is marking the milestone with a programme of exciting, inspirational and thought-provoking projects which will shine an international spotlight onto the incredible cultural hub this city has become. Bringing together international artists, performers and homegrown talent which has emerged over the last decade, more than 40 events and festivals will take place in and across the city region, including firsts, one-off spectacles and some returning, crowd-pulling favourites. The programme brings together the worlds of music, sport, ships, the best of Chinese art, great food and drink and even some cardboard box sculptures, and although its inspired by the huge success of 2008, Liverpool 2018 is focused on the renaissance which has transformed the region over the past decade and looks to position culture and creativity at the heart of all aspects of the city.
The Liverpool 2018 events programme is supported by the City Region Combined Authority with £5 million from the Single Investment Fund.
Organisations supporting the year are HSBC, GREAT,, University of Liverpool, Global, Liverpool BID Company, ACC Liverpool, Liverpool ONE, Albert Dock Liverpool, Fazenda, Mayoral 100 Club, Merseytravel, Merseyrail, Arriva, Stagecoach, St Johns Shopping Centre, Arts Council England, Ticket Quarter and CreART. 

Arts Council England

Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2015 and 2018, we plan to invest £1.1 billion of public money from government and an estimated £700 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

Mayoral 100 Club

The Mayoral 100 Club, an exclusive initiative set up by Mayor Joe Anderson, OBE is the official business club for the Liverpool 2018 programme. The initiative creates opportunities for citywide businesses to connect, collaborate and collectively drive the world-class cultural agenda of Liverpool on local, national and international levels. In addition to exclusive opportunities, members’ directly contribute to the facilitation of Three festivals Tall Ships Regatta through their membership. In doing so, the Mayoral 100 Club is at the forefront of forging new, public-private sector relationships, allowing Liverpool to remain on the global stage; delivering arts and cultural events to those who live, work, invest, visit and study in Liverpool.