Trainee crew volunteers mark countdown

J R Tolkien - one of vessels taking part

A 150-day countdown to the Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Festival - the biggest regatta of its kind on the river for 25 years - has been launched.

Up to 50 tall ships of all sizes will feature in the regatta in September, a finale of a race from Falmouth to Greenwich.

Organised by the Royal Borough of Greenwich the festival also gives a chance for young people from the borough to crew one of the spectacular vessels. Applications for a remaining trainee crew place remains open until April 22nd.

Ships from around the world will be moored at four locations along the Greenwich shoreline with daily sails up the River Thames to London Bridge, in the biggest event in the capital since the 2012 Games. A riverboat shuttle service will enable spectators to visit vessels at the various locations.

The ships will arrive over two days in early September and the festival, being held from September 5th to 9th, will culminate with all 50 ships sailing in a flotilla down the Thames.

Among the ships confirmed so far are:

Gulden Leeuw, a three-masted topsail schooner from Holland.

The Lady of Avenel, a vessel with strong connections to Royal Greenwich. The former training ship was originally fitted out by Wilfred Dowman - owner of the Cutty Sark.

Leila, built in Greenwich and one of the oldest yachts sailing in the UK.

Queen Galadriel, built in 1937 in Svenborg, Denmark which once sailed as a cargo vessel around the coasts of Denmark and Norway

Announcing details of the regatta aboard the JR Tolkien, one of the tall ships taking part, Councillor Chris Roberts, Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich said: “Royal Greenwich is renowned for its rich maritime history, which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to our borough each year and supports thousands of local jobs.

“Building on the success of the Olympics, playing host to London’s first Tall Ships Festival for 25 years will provide us with a fantastic opportunity to boost the local economy even further as the ships sail past our historic maritime landmarks including the Old Royal Naval College and the Cutty Sark.”

Following the launch, the J R Tolkien was open to members of the public and local groups to give a taste of what is to come in the autumn September.

On the same day the Royal Greenwich Festivals 2014 was launched with local arts organisations showcasing an eclectic mix of music, dance and performance, giving people a taste of the cultural life of Royal Greenwich.

Story dated April 10th 2014


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