Majestic visitors cast off and head for the horizon as the Tall Ships Race begins
Last updated at 9:26 AM on 4th July 2011
They drew gasps of admiration as they arrived in Waterford over the past four days, but nothing compared with the sight of 45 Tall Ships sailing together out of the quays and along the River Suir yesterday.
The majestic vessels left to cheers from the hordes of spectators who had descended on the city for the festival. Before long, the last craft was a dot on the horizon.
The ‘parade of sail’ took the ships out of the Waterford Estuary to Dunmore East, where their gruelling race began.
And they're off: The Tall Ships sail out of Waterford
Their course was expected to take them around the west coast to Greenock, Scotland, yesterday, but bad weather forced them to head eastwards and sail along the Celtic Sea.
The Russian ship Mir, a visitor to Waterford in 2005 when the city was last a host port, was an early leader.
The westerly course would have taken the ships an estimated five days to reach Greenock, while the first of the vessels is expected to get there by Wednesday.
A cruise from Greenock to Lerwick in Shetland will follow, while the second race will be from Lerwick to Stavanger, in Norway. The third and final race will bring the fleet to Halmstad, Sweden in the first week in August.
One vessel that was docked on the north quays was Sørlandet, a Norwegian ship built in 1927, which won in 2003. Able seaman Jøhannes Brønbum, 24, said: ‘You always want to win; we have a chance of winning. We won before.’
Gardaí estimated 200,000 spectators had turned out on Saturday alone, bringing the official total to an estimated 500,00. Visitors were treated to music from Bryan Ferry, The Waterboys and Sharon Shannon.
Mast movement: The 67-metre long Gloria, once of the Colombian Navy
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2010958/Tall-Ships-Race-2011-Majestic-visitors-cast-head-horizon.html#ixzz1R8oLH2zn