The Tall Ships Race is set to return to Falmouth next August.

At its annual online conference, Sail Training International, the global organiser of Tall Ships events and races, endorsed Falmouth as the ‘Race Start Partner’ of this iconic race, one which will also commemorate 500 years since the first circumnavigation voyage around the world.

The maritime event will mark the sixth time Falmouth has hosted the tall ships, with the inaugural one for the town being held in 1966. Given current surrounding circumstances related to COVID and potentially necessary social distancing and safety measures, the 2021 Falmouth event will be operationally innovative, whilst adhering to all necessary Government guidelines.

Tall Ships Falmouth 2021 will be underwritten by Falmouth Town Council, with financial support from its key partners Falmouth Business Improvement District (BID) and Falmouth Tall Ships Association.

The new event format will welcome around 40 vessels into the sheltered, deep waters of the vibrant port town. Tall ships from various nations will arrive prior to the August 19 race start date (subject to weather, tides and other factors), with the magnificent Class A square-rigged vessels anchoring in the ‘Carrick Roads’, the estuary of the River Fal. A further number of Class A and Class B ships are likely to anchor in Falmouth’s inner harbour, while Class C and D will be berthed at Port Pendennis Marina.

The 2021 event will see the introduction of water-based inner harbour tours to view the tall ships out in their ‘natural’ surroundings, as there will be no public access onto the ships. This up-close opportunity, on the water, rather than on land, will offer a unique and unforgettable experience. The traditional Tall Ships Captain’s Dinner will take place at the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club, while visitors to Falmouth will enjoy a varied shoreside programme, organised by the Town Team and South West Bars and Events.

Then on Thursday August 19 and prior to the start of the tall ships race from Falmouth to A Coruna in Spain (a Royal Naval Vessel will also be present on the start line), a spectacular Parade of Sail will take place around the stunning natural amphitheatre of Falmouth Bay, creating a wonderful spectacle for those watching on water or from the many vantage points along Falmouth’s scenic coastline.

Falmouth Town Mayor, Cllr Steve Eva, said: “This really is fantastic news for the town and Falmouth Town Council is only too pleased to support. Credit must go to the efforts and behind the scenes negotiations by our team in Falmouth for securing this event for the benefit of our community, businesses and visitors alike.

“We have a strong pedigree in delivering memorable tall ships races and regattas over the years; they really hold a special place in the hearts and minds of so many. We greatly look forward to viewing the ships under full sail in Falmouth Bay once again.”

Touching upon the economic impact of such events, Falmouth BID manager Richard Wilcox, one of the organisers for Tall Ships Falmouth 2021, commented: “This is another brilliant example of the partnerships that work so well in Falmouth, coming to the fore to secure this opportunity.

These events are not only wonderful occasions, thanks to the hard work of many individuals, organisations and volunteers but they provide a significant economic boost as well. The 2014 Tall Ships Regatta that the team put on for example, injected over £10 million into the Falmouth area and given the current climate, we are planning for a programme of proactive initiatives and activities for 2021 that can support the local economy and provide a welcome boost for business.”

Further details on when the tall ships will start to arrive in Falmouth, activities and shoreside events will be announced in the coming weeks.

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