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Tall Ships Race returns to Belfast

Published 21/04/2015

The Tall Ships berthed in Belfast in 2009
The Tall Ships berthed in Belfast in 2009

The Tall Ships Race is to begin in Belfast this summer.

The city will be the home port before the start of this year's competition, with dozens of the world's finest sailing vessels berthed over the weekend of July 2-5.

Crews will travel from Northern Ireland to Norway during the inaugural leg.

More than half a million people are expected to attend, creating a £10 million windfall for Belfast.

Belfast lord mayor Arder Carson said: "More than 50 of the world's finest sailing ships, and their crews - from Europe, North and South America and further afield - will be berthed in Belfast for four days."

This is the third time the city has welcomed the Tall Ships Race, having previously staged the event in 1991 and 2009. With the staging of the first leg of the race, even more ships will be taking part this year, with more than 50 vessels - including 17 massive Class A ships - making the port their home for four days before setting off on their annual challenge.

Mr Carson added: "In terms of events, they don't really come much bigger than the Tall Ships Races.

"While, over the past number of years, we in Belfast have established an internationally-renowned reputation for staging high quality, high profile events - from the MTV EMAs through to last year's World Police and Fire Games - the figures for the Tall Ships speak for themselves."

The annual Tall Ships Race is owned by Sail Training International (STI), a UK-based charitable organisation.

Race director Paul Bishop said: "We're delighted to bring the Tall Ships Race fleet back to Belfast following our successful visits in 1991 and 2009.

"Belfast has a great maritime heritage and is renowned as a 'sail training friendly port'.

"The crews are guaranteed a terrific welcome before racing to Alesund, Norway, in the first leg of the Tall Ships Races 2015."

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