The billowing canvas of sailing ships in Playmouth Sound today (Wednesday) brought back memories of times when these were the only vessels leaving and entering the famous British Port.
The billowing canvas of sailing ships in Playmouth Sound today (Wednesday) brought back memories of times when these were the only vessels leaving and entering the famous British Port. Four giant square-riggers dominated a record entry of 36 for this year's Tall Ships Race, organised by Britain's Sail Training Association.
The Duke of Edinburgh started the race from the Royal Yacht "Britannia" by firing a gun at quarter hour intervals for the departure of the three classes in the race. Entries included ships from Norway, Portugal, West Germany, the Netherlands, France, Italy and Britain.
The four square-riggers, together with 13 other vessels, will sail 1,450 miles (2,334 kilometres) to Teneriffe, in the Canary Islands. The remainder of the entries take a shorter course to Corunna, Northern Spain.
The biggest ship in the race is the 2,012-ton Norwegian barque "Statsraad Lehmkuhl". Norway's other square-rigger is the smaller 773-ton "Christian Radich", while the West German Navy have entered their 1,727-ton barque "gorch Fock" and the Portuguese Navy the 1,784-ton barque "Sagres".
Service launches plied busily among the attendant fleet of small craft to keep the mile-long starting line clear. After days of rain, the sun came out and a fresh south-westerly breeze soon had the great ships moving at a fair pace. The conditions of the race stipulate the all entries should be partly manned by trainees, and this year more than 800 boys and girls were taking part.
The Corunna section of the race should be completed by August 3 or 4, and those sailing to Teneriffe should arrive there about a week later.