The Tall Ships Races 2012, Dublin

The Tall Ships Races – What’s it all about?


And so the Tall Ships Races 2012 officially ‘anchored’ with celebrations in Dublin on Thursday (23rd August). Most ships had arrived by Tuesday evening, and I did see a few sailors on that night as I strolled home with a friend from Salsa class. They seemed to have left their sea legs on board as they happily posed for photographs with passing tourists. And the last I saw of them, they were busily taking their own photos of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

But what is it all about? With plans to partake in the celebrations this evening I decided that I really should know what I’m celebrating! And so here is my synopsis:

  • The Tall Ships Races are exactly that! There are a total of four races.
    • Race One : Saint Malo, France – Lisbon, Portugal.
    • Race Two : Lisbon, Portugal – Cadiz, Spain.
    • Race Three : Cadiz, Spain – A Coruna, Spain.
    • Race Four : A Coruna, Spain – Dublin, Ireland.
  • The Tall Ships are categorised into different classes, Class A, B, C and D. There are 12 Class A Ships, 8 Class B Ships,  14 Class C Ships and 7 Class D Ships. I’ve included some examples below, maybe I’ll spot one or two later!

Class A

The Italian Tall Ship, Amerigo Vespucci

The Italian Tall Ship, Amerigo Vespucci

Class B

The Polish Tall Ship Kapitan Borchardt

The Polish Tall Ship, Kapitan Borchardt

image source:

Class D

The Irish Tall Ship Creidne

The Irish Ship, Creidne

image source: John McGarry Flickr

  • Some of the larger Class A ships have over 100 professional officers on board while some of the smaller Class D ships have only one. All of the ships have trainee crew. To get on board you can apply through your national branch of the National Sail Training Organisation, the Irish organisation is Sail Training Ireland.
  • Not all ships make it too the finish line but all ships are tracked by satellite.
  • Nine of the Ships allow visitors on board while they are docked at the Quays and it’s free!
  • Dublin last hosted the Tall Ships 14 years ago, in 1998.
  • The Tall Ships 2012 Festival in Dublin is scheduled for four days and includes a Crew Parade, Market/Craft & Retail Stands, Food Stands, Bars, a Floating Cinema, a Live Music Dock sponsored by Bulmers and including top Irish acts such as Ryan Sheridan, Delorentos, Cathy Davy, Therapy? and The Undertones, a Theatre of Food, a Funfair Zone, an Urban Zone, a Kids Events & Activity Area and a Visitors Centre!
  • For more information visit
I’m really looking forward to seeing the ships and soaking up the atmosphere. It looks like the sun might come out so it should be a good day.


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Edwina O'Connor
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