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Ahoy there: Tall Ships now sailing in to view

This page has been specially written for those thousands of primary school children from across Northern Ireland who are taking part in the Belfast Telegraph Newspapers in Education project

Published 13/05/2015

Tall Ships - Sir Winston Churchill
Tall Ships - Sir Winston Churchill

Ahoy there, mateys and welcome to our new adventure into the nautical world of Tall Ships.

As Belfast prepares to welcome the Tall Ships Race this summer we are looking forward to a spectacular display as these magnificent vessels from around the world anchor in the city.

The classic sailing ships became no longer necessary after World War II, having lost out to steam-powered ships several decades before.

However, they found a new purpose thanks to retired London solicitor Bernard Morgen, who dreamed up the idea of bringing together young cadets and seamen from around the world to train and compete in a friendly competition on the high seas.

His vision saw the first Tall Ships race held in 1956 with 20 vessels taking part in a route from Torquay in Devon to Lisbon. What was initially planned as a farewell to the era of these grand sailing ships proved so popular that race organisers founded the Sail Training International Association to continue the event.

Since then the Tall Ships Races have taken place every year in various parts of the world, with millions of spectators.

Today the race attracts around 100 entrants, some of which are the largest sailing vessels in existence.

The race also encourages friendship between countries and the opportunity for young people to celebrate the art of sailing.

More than half of the crew on each ship is made up of young people.

There will be many different vessels competing in the Tall Ships Race from July 2-5 in Belfast. Vessels taking part range from yachts to the large square-rigged sail training ships. The term 'rig' is used for the masts of a sailing ship and the masts are the tall, upright posts which carry the sails.

When watching the race you will be able to see a variety of three and four-masted ships. Look out for the foremast at the centre of the front of the three-masted ships and also the main mast, while at the back you will see the mizzen mast.

If you have the opportunity to climb aboard the deck of a tall ship when they dock in the city you will be able to see for yourself how spectacular these vessels are.

You will be able to look up in awe at the masts soaring into the sky and their fantastic sails.

You can't miss the mainsail, which is the lowest and largest sail on the main mast.

Also see if you can spot the shrouds, which are pieces of rope that hold the masts up from side to side.

There will be people working on board the vessels, ready to share seafaring stories and willing to answer sea and ship related-questions to help develop your nautical knowledge!

Nautical terms

1. Backstay:

Long lines or cables, reaching from the stern of the vessel to the mast heads, used to support the mast.

2. Main deck:

The uppermost continuous deck extending from bow to stern.

3. Bow:

The front of the vessel.

4. Stern:

The rear part of the ship.

Belfast Telegraph

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