Why you must see the Tall Ships in Falmouth - a magical and rare event

 Falmouth is home to one of the deepest harbours in the world and is extraordinarily famous for its maritime heritage. This summer the vibrant seaside town is excited to be hosting the Tall Ships Race again for the first time in 9 years. As a steadfast supporter of Sail Training International's Races and Regattas, the Falmouth port will once more extend a warm welcome to the Tall Ships fleet as they make ready for Race One, heading south to A Coruña, Spain, on August 18th.

tall ships at pen dennis head

Tall ships and sailboats at Pen Dennis Head, Falmouth 

What are Tall Ships?

Tall Ships are considered to the 'giants of the sea'. They are huge vessels that will take you back in time. Sailing these ships is an art and a career for many.  Their shear size will leave you in awe.

A Tall Ship is a majestic and imposing sailing vessel with distinctive features that set it apart from modern ships. Historically, tall ships were used for exploration, trade, and naval warfare, and they played a crucial role in shaping maritime history.

 tall ship art


Here are some key characteristics that describe a tall ship:

  1. Size and Height: Tall ships are typically large, with multiple masts that can rise high above the deck. These masts can reach great heights, sometimes towering over 100 feet (30 meters) or more.

  2. Sails: The most striking feature of a tall ship is its vast network of sails. These sails, often made of canvas or other durable materials, catch the wind to propel the vessel forward. The number of sails and their configuration can vary, with some tall ships having square sails while others have fore-and-aft sails.

  3. Rigging: The complex system of ropes, lines, and cables that support and control the sails is known as rigging. It forms an intricate pattern across the ship's masts and creates a visually captivating sight.

  4. Wooden Construction: Traditional tall ships were constructed primarily from wood, with a sturdy hull to withstand the harsh conditions of the open sea. The woodwork and craftsmanship of these vessels were often intricate and finely detailed.

  5. Nautical Aesthetics: Tall ships often have a timeless and romantic allure, with ornate figureheads at the prow, decorative carvings, and elegant lines. Their appearance evokes a sense of adventure and nostalgia for the golden age of sail.

  6. Crew and Sailing Experience: Sailing a tall ship requires a skilled and well-coordinated crew. The crew members work together to handle the sails, navigate, and ensure the safe operation of the vessel.

  7. Historical Significance: Many tall ships are replicas of historical sailing vessels, or they have been preserved as floating museums. They serve as a living reminder of the maritime heritage and the era of sail.

Overall, a tall ship embodies a blend of impressive engineering, artistic craftsmanship, and a connection to the seafaring past, making it a captivating and iconic symbol of maritime exploration and adventure.

tall ships falmouth artwork


One of the most famous Tall Ships

Mayflower: The Mayflower was the ship that transported the Pilgrims from England to the New World in 1620, establishing the Plymouth Colony in present-day Massachusetts. This historic voyage is considered a pivotal event in American history and is commemorated every year on Thanksgiving.the mayflower

A brief history of the Tall Ships Races

The first Tall Ships raced from Torbay, in the South West of the UK to Lisbon, Portugal in 1956. 

The Tall Ships Races take part annually in locations all over the globe. 

This year the Tall Ships Races' Magellan Elcano series will honour the first ever voyage around the world by Ferdinand Magellan and Sebastián Elcano, which happened over 500 years ago. This monumental journey is one of the most significant undertakings in the history of sea exploration, capturing the unique and impactful essence of The Tall Ships Races.

The fleet of Tall Ships will race from Falmouth, Cornwall to Cadiz in Spain in 3 separate legs and will be a total of 1900 nautical miles!

tall ship schedual

 What's on and when to see the Tall Ships in Falmouth

 You can see the Tall Ships in Falmouth bay from 14th - 18th August 2023

There will be celebrations and family activities happening all week in Falmouth surrounding the event. Including a unique chance to get on board these massive vessels, on Friday see the 'Parade of Sail' where you can see the Tall Ships in motion to the start line. There will also be many other daytime and evening activities going on throughout the week. Best of all most activities for the Tall Ships event are free. 

Find out more about the Tall Ships event here >

While you're in Falmouth don't forget to visit Whistlefish, we have decorated the window display to celebrate this fantastic and unique event. 

 whistlefish falmouth


Hi Are you doing a card collection of the paintings, as gift cards? I’d love that and buy them, if you can let me know. Thanks.

Karen August 15, 2023

Hi, Your shop front looks great. When I lived in Cornwall I always looked forward to the tall ships arriving in Falmouth bay. Last time I was there the Qe2 was there. Have a good one. JB.

John Scouse August 10, 2023

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