The Tall Ships Races Helsinki 2013

The Tall Ships Races Helsinki 2013 sailing event was held in Hietalahti, Helsinki on 17–20 July 2013. Around 3,300 crew members from as many as 37 differnet countries visited Helsinki during the event, which was attended by a total of 98 sailing ships. The event also provided diverse cultural entertainments and activities for children and young people. The climax of the event was the impressive Parade of Sail by which the vessels departed for their next port of call, Riga. The event’s visitor target was met: the organisers and authorities estimate that more than half a million people visited the event. Spectacles such as the crew parade and the Parade of Sail were followed by tens of thousands. Entry to the event, organised by the City of Helsinki, was free of charge.


Three main themes – youth work, protection of the Baltic Sea and responsible event organisation – provided the framework for The Tall Ships Races Helsinki 2013 event. A deep sense of team spirit arose among the young crew members during their voyage as a result of cooperation, living together in cramped quarters away from their families, and being faced with and gaining an understanding of different cultures. This sense of solidarity also rubbed off on the event’s visitors and organisers.


“For the past four days, Helsinki has celebrated these wonderful tall ships. I would like to thank the ships’ crews, the event’s volunteer workers and, in particular, all the young sailors who have brought joy to our city. This is youth work at its best”, said Mayor of Helsinki Jussi Pajunen.


Visitors were introduced to the protection of the Baltic through a photography exhibition of images taken by young crew members on board their ships, the Baltic Corner and the Horizon artwork unveiled on the Jätkäsaari seafront, on which the names of every donor for the protection of the Baltic were immortalised. The principles of responsible event organisation were taken into account in the ships’ maintenance, the recycling of waste and the production of electricity for the event, for which an exceptionally high proportion of renewable natural resources was


The Finnish Navy provided fantastic support for the event in the form of a command centre constructed on the basis of a new type of command system. This command system was built specifically for the event. The system enabled the liaison officers appointed by the Navy, who functioned as contact persons between the ships and the event organisation, to communicate with the command centre via the internet, using smart phones. Based on this data, the command centre maintained situational awareness with regard to personnel, maintenance and services. The arrival and unmooring of the ships was also managed in a safe, controlled fashion through the system.


Programmed events were organised for the 3,300 sailors who arrived in Helsinki for the event. The captains of all vessels, from class A state-owned vessels to small class D ships, were invited to the Merikaapelihalli in Kaapelitehdas for a Captains’ Dinner, while uniforms mingled with t-shirts at the crew party thrown for all crew members. Finnish ships Astrid and Valborg also took the sailors on a day trip to Suomenlinna to see the island’s docks.


After sailing times had been corrected according to the vessels’ handicaps, the British Morning Star of Revelation emerged as the overall winner of the competition’s first leg from Helsinki to Aarhus. Other awards were presented at the conclusion of the joyous crew parade as well: the Cuauhtemoc from Mexico was presented with the prize for most spectacular arrival into Helsinki, while the Omani Shabab Oman was awarded the prize for best presented ship and crew. The Belgian Tomidi won line honours by being the first vessel to cross the finish line.


The Tall Ships Races is organised in the Baltic approximately every four years. The first host city for this year’s competition was Aarhus in Denmark, on 4–7 July. After Helsinki, the duties of host city will be taken up by Riga, Latvia, on 25–28 July and Szczecin, Poland, on 3–6 August. The competition rules state that the ships’ sails must be hoisted and engines turned off for the entire voyage from the start to the finish line. During the competitive legs of the race, at least half of each ship’s crew members must be aged between 15 and 25 years.


July 22, 2013 · admin · Comments Closed
Posted in: Finland