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Tall Ships: It's destination 'party town' as Harry and crew dock in Belfast

By Joanne Sweeney

It's just two days to the start of the Tall Ships Festival - and the crew of Dutch ship Morgenster intend to enjoy every minute.

Preparations around Titanic Belfast are in full swing to cater for an expected 500,000 visitors from Thursday to Sunday.

Yesterday Morgenster owner Harry Muter effortlessly reverse-steered his 50-metre double-masted ship into the harbour just behind the Odyssey.

Harry revealed: "The Morgenster has never won the Tall Ships Race yet even though we always finish in the top 10.

"It seems like we can never beat the Norwegians but we will never stop trying.

"We have been here before and Belfast is known as a really big party town, so I'm sure we will all enjoy ourselves again."

Harry welcomed the Belfast Telegraph on board his pristine vessel, where the decks are still scrubbed clean and most of the crew are in their early 20s.

The double bunk cabins are tiny with only room to stand and turn in, but the ship is beautifully maintained.

It can sleep 36 and its tiny galley kitchen has catered for over 400 people. A small bar off the ship's salon where the crew eat and relax shows how important rest time is to the shipmates.

They will cast off on Sunday with 35 trainee crew members, seven of them from Northern Ireland, who have been given the opportunity to sail on a tall ship with Volunteer Now.

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