Sunderland is to welcome the French Navy to the Tall Ships

Written by on 12th February 2018

Six more ships, including four beautiful Class B and two impressive Class C vessels have pledged their support for The Tall Ships Races Sunderland 2018.

The new registrations bring the current number of ships taking part to 42, with vessels such as De Gallant, Caroline af Sandnes, JR Tolkien, Challenge Wales, Dyrafjeld and Hosanna.

Class C vessel Hosanna has been operated by Ecole Navale, the French naval academy, since 2010. She has been sailing for the benefit of the academy students as well as young sailors from a variety of different backgrounds.

Trainees are encouraged to join in and make most of the skills learned while working as part of a tight-knit team. While taking part in The Tall Ships Races students and trainees alike are encouraged to learn about new cultures and to act as fantastic ambassadors for the essence of sail training and of course , their country.

Sunderland City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture, Councillor John Kelly said: “It will be fantastic to welcome these latest crews.

Not just from Ecole Navale but also from elsewhere in France, Norway, The Netherlands and certainly not forgetting Wales. Just these six vessels give an indication of the truly international nature of this event.

“Sunderland continues to develop a reputation as a welcoming city capable of successfully hosting huge events. I hope that as many people as possible find a way to become involved, support the event and give visiting crews a fantastic welcome.”

Other ships coming to Sunderland include:

– De Gallant, a 27m Class B Gaff Schooner. She sails mostly in the North Sea, the Baltic and the English Channel as a sail training ship. She is a regular participant of the Tall Ships Race

– Challenge Wales, a 22m Class C, BM Cutter. A regular competitor in The Tall Ships Races she undertakes sail training activities predominantly around Wales, Ireland and the South Coast of England.

– Caroline af Sandnes a 20m Class B Gaff Cutter from Norway. She is over 130years old and was originally named trine and operated as a sailing cargo vessel

– J.R.Tolkien a 36m Gaff Topsail Schooner from the Netherlands. Originally built as a sea-going tug named Dierko, she was converted to a schooner in 1994 and renamed in honour of the British Author J.R.R Tolkien.

– Dyrafjeld is a 30m Norwegian “jakt” Gaff Ketch. Built in 1889 she is among the world’s oldest wooden vessels still sailing. Now a gem amongst the sailing ships of the world, she serves the young and the future as a training ship in Oslo

Head of Events for Sunderland City Council, Victoria French said: “This is truly great to hear. The fact that so many ships are confirming their attendance is great reflection of the work that is already underway to make the four day event one of the biggest celebrations the region has ever seen.”

“This will be the first visit for each of the newly registered vessels into Port of Sunderland and we’re really looking forward to welcoming them here next year. We are proud to play our part in helping to deliver a truly iconic event.”

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