Organisers of the Blyth North Sea Tall Ships Regatta 2016 have been visiting Belfast to get a close-up view of how a Tall Ships Race event is managed.
Belfast was selected as a host port for The Tall Ships Races 2015 and Northumberland County Council and the Port of Blyth sent a delegation to meet the organisers and crews taking part and to look at the opportunities and challenges that the event creates.
Forty-seven vessels from as far afield as Brazil and Ecuador attended, attracting 800,000 visitors to the Belfast event held from July 2 to July 5, in the city’s Titanic Quarter and Pollock Dock area.
Tens of thousands of people watched the Tall Ships sail out of Belfast Lough on their last day, to the race starting point, just off Portrush. After leaving Northern Ireland, the ships visit Aalesund and Kristiansand in Norway and then Aalborg in Denmark.
The Port of Blyth is the starting host port for the North Sea Tall Ships Regatta 2016 and the first ships are expected to arrive from August 24.
The Port of Blyth in association with Northumberland County Council and Sail Training International is hosting the prestigious event and a large number of people are expected to attend the Regatta which will be one of the biggest events ever held in the county.
Councillor Scott Dickinson, business chair at Northumberland County Council, said: “It was incredibly useful to see how a spectacular event like the Belfast Tall Ships Race is organised and to get an idea of how fabulous Blyth will look next year when the Tall Ships sail into port.
“We were able to observe the logistics of managing the event at first hand and that has been invaluable and will stand us in very good stead for the excitement of the North Sea Tall Ships Regatta 2016.”
The Tall Ships will be in the port at Blyth over the Bank holiday weekend of 26-29 August 2016 and high visitor numbers are expected.
Captain Martin Willis, Harbour Master, Port of Blyth, said: “It was an extremely valuable visit to experience the behind the scenes planning and daily requirements of the vessels, crews and Port Operations.
“We are confident that Blyth will be a magnificent host port providing excellent facilities and attractions for the Tall Ships and their crews.”
The Blyth North Sea Tall Ships Regatta 2016 will be a festival featuring all kinds of events including concerts, a sea battle, sporting competitions and a crew parade.