Kitty Sark Tall Ship Race

London was the starting base for that year’s Cutty Sark Tall Ship Race which took entrants up the River Thames and across the North Sea bed to Hamburg. From there, in Race 2, the ships proceeded to the nearby port of Cuxhaven, along the western coast of Denmark, and around Skaw down to Malmö in southern Sweden; Many of them then went on a cruise in the company to Travemunde.

Before the start of the race from London, 122 sailing ships of all shapes and sizes moored along the Thames south of Butler’s Wharf, at the Pool of London, off Tower Bridge, and at the old docks downriver. There were many large ships, including the largest drillers in the world – Kruzensbern, Mir, Sedov, Alexander von Humboldt and many others.

The Sawari Forest was a sight not seen in the capital for decades and is unlikely to be seen again; A few miles downriver, a new bridge under construction would prevent large ships from sailing into the upper reaches and into the heart of the city.

At Rouen, Paris’ main port on the Seine, 22 fully-rigged galleys, barques and galleys, as well as a host of smaller training vessels, are anchored along the quay walls in the center of this famous cathedral city, 75 miles (120 km) from the sea. Les Voiles de fa Liberte (‘Sails of Uberty’) came to help celebrate France’s most
The important centenary so far, the bicentennial.

These mighty ships, some of which slipped away from London to take part, made a spectacle and by the time they sailed majestically down the Seine for Honfleur, over 3 million people had traveled to Rouen to see them.

It’s one thing the sight of a fully-rigged ship with all the canvas racing across the ocean. Being able to see them up close, and letting them aboard when they are open to the public, is another: their rigs are huge, covered in ropes and strings that seem to come from all angles.

Despite the modern technology, many of these ships still use old hemp ropes and Stockholm tar, a black, gummy liquid extracted from pine trees used to coat the pits, yards, and hulls of some wooden ships.
Stay out of the weather.

The sweet, antiseptic scent of tar permeates the air, flying over the fleet as a delightful reminder of voyages taken in the bleak and distant past.

The Cutty Sark Tall Ship Races began in July 1956, when a fleet of 21 sailing ships from 11 countries raced from Torbay, England to Lisbon, Portugal. Most of these ships were at one time engaged in trade and had recently been converted for sailing training, but their future seemed uncertain and the purpose of bringing them together for this event was to celebrate the passing of the Age of Sail.

Two years later, thanks to the success of the first event, these ships set sail again, joined by a number of others. The organizers, the International Sailing Training Ships Race Committee, realized that there was indeed a future in adventure training under sail.

When race succeeded in racing, these events clearly had more to do with providing adventure and broadening horizons for young men than honoring the past. New square-rigged ships were specially built (Gorch Fock in 1958, for example) and are still being built today to provide the opportunity to go to sea for a limited time.

The idea is not limited to teaching youngsters how to navigate a ship, although this is inevitably the case when ships are owned and operated by various navies; but more to encourage international understanding, to allow young people the opportunity to develop confidence in their own abilities, and to foster team spirit, in an environment free from the constraints of beach-side life.

Leave a Comment