Yesterday, my wife and I went down to Greenwich to see the Parade of Sail – the finale to the five-day Tall Ships Festival.
The Tall Ships Festival is an annual event in London, but this year’s event has seen the largest fleet of tall ships assembled in London for 25 years. The vessels arrived in London after a race from Falmouth, Cornwall and have been moored across four sites: Greenwich Maritime, Greenwich Peninsula, West India Dock at Canary Wharf and Woolwich for the last few days. Over the course of five days there have been opportunities to visit many of the ships, and enjoy the festival atmosphere including live music, entertainment, stalls and other activities. And the weather has been fine.
The finale was worth waiting for. Fifty-four ships assembled up-stream of the festival sites and as we arrived one of the stars of the show the Polish three-masted Dar Mlodziezy slipped her moorings on the Greenwich Peninsula and sailed past us to be positioned at the head of the Parade. When she returned a set of sails had been unfurled, and although all the ships were using motor power to proceed down-stream, all had some of their sails unfurled, which added greatly to the magnificence of the sight.
The crowds were huge, there wasn’t a spare space in the front row of spectators and quite a few images were only possible by adopting the tactic of holding the camera above everyone else’s heads, employing live view, and ‘hoping’.
The ships were of all shapes and sizes from the multi-masted square-rigged tall ships, to ocean-going racing yachts, and Luggers that once would have worked the coastal waters of the UK. And for this race and festival the majority of the crews on these boats were young people, many of them having their first experience of sailing.
This was one of those events from which you come away and think: I’m so glad we were there to see that. Below is a gallery of images for you to look through. As always click on the first image and then navigate through.