09 July 2005

South-east says farewell to Tall Ships


09/07/2005 - 15:27:24

Photo: Haydn West/PA

Tens of thousands of people lined the Waterford Estuary today as the Tall Ships sailed off in formation for the start of the 2005 race series.

The seized every possible vantage point as the magnificent vessels, most with their sails up, passed down the River Suir in formation to Dunmore East for the pre-race Parade of Sail.

The 86 Tall Ships were joined by a flotilla of smaller vessels as they made their way towards the open sea.

The Parade of Sail formally kicks off the 2005 race series with its first leg to Cherbourg-Octeville in France.

Visitors watched the spectacle from both sides of the estuary ahead of the race start at 3pm.

Hundreds of thousands of people have turned out in recent days to see the vessels birthed in Waterford Port.

A spokeswoman for the event said the atmosphere had been “brilliant” with spectators treated to parades, an Air Corps fly-by and fireworks display as part of the free festival.

Gardaí estimated the fireworks display alone in the city on Friday night was watched by 130,000.

They reported no major incidents.

The ships have come from countries around the globe including France, Uruguay, the USA, Bulgaria, India, Indonesia, Russia, Germany, Netherlands, UK, Poland, Finland, Belgium, Latvia, Portugal, Spain and Norway.

One of the three Irish ships taking part, the sail training vessel Asgard II, was given the honour of leading the sail past down the river.

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