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The Race of the Decade has begun!

Posted by Tall Ships America on May 4, 2009

Russian tall ship KRUZENSHTERN on the Parade of Sail out of Vigo, Spain

Russian tall ship KRUZENSHTERN on the Parade of Sail out of Vigo, Spain

The first leg of the TALL SHIPS®ATLANTIC CHALLENGE is underway as the fleet of eleven vessels departed yesterday from Vigo, Spain for their next port of call in Tenerife, Las Canarias.  Thousands of visitors thronged the waterfront over the holiday weekend in Vigo to welcome the tall ships into their port. 

Crowds turn out by the thousands in Vigo

Crowds turn out by the thousands in Vigo

Crew parade through the center of Vigo

Crew parade through the center of Vigo

The ships were divided into two groups for the start. Class A and B vessels were in the first group and they included, Belle Poule (France), Etoile (France), Jolie Brise (UK), Kruzenshtern (Russia), Spirit of Bermuda (Bermuda), and Tecla (Netherlands). The first vessel across the start line in the first group was Etoile, with Jolie Brise and Belle Poule crossing close behind and Spirit of Bermuda crossing in fourth and Tecla in fifth. Kruzenshtern, who had been permitted a wider race start line in view of her size and the proximity to land, was last across the line some 14 minutes after the start.

In the second group of Class C and D vessels, Xsaar ( Belgium)made a spectacular and well timed start by raising her spinnaker at just the right moment to take her across the line seconds after the signal. Close behind her was Rona II (UK) with Peter von Danzig (Germany) crossing in third, Arosa (Spain) in fourth and Urania (Netherlands) in fifth.  

ETOILE at race start
ETOILE at race start

 

Race start information and all photos provided by Sail Training International. More information about the start of the  TALL SHIPS® ATLANTIC CHALLENGE and the first two ports of Vigo and Tenerife can be found at www.tallshipsraces.org .

Additional photos of the Vigo event and race start can be found on the Sail Training International Picture Gallery

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