In 2020 the Tall Ships will return to the Iberian Peninsula, visiting Lisbon in Portugal, Cádiz and A Coruña in Spain and French Dunkirk. The first three cities have together hosted the Tall Ships an astounding number of 22 times! To even things out, Dunkirk will be a Tall Ships Races port for the first time. Many international Tall Ships, small ships and yachts have already confirmed their attendance!
The events will start in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. From there the fleet will race south to Spanish Cádiz. The next leg will start as a race from Cádiz to the finish line located 120 nautical miles away. Then the vessels will cruise north along the coast of Portugal and Spain to meet again in A Coruña. For the final race the Ships will cross the Bay of Biscay to Dunkirk in northern France.
There are 4 classes of vessels who race against each other. At least 50% of the trainees on board have to be aged 15-25. Aside from the sailing trophies there are a number of different rewards each year, for example for the most international crew, the best port entrance or most entertaining in Crew Parade.
Aside from sailing and racing, the port events are an equally big part of Tall Ships Races. After an exciting time on the sea, the trainees usually spend the last two days of their journey in ports, enjoying activities such as: Crew Parade, Crew Party, friendly competitions, concerts and spectacular fireworks.
The first ever Tall Ships race took place in 1956 in order to promote international friendships and Sail Training. 20 ships raced from Great Britain to Portugal, among them Christian Radich, Maybe and Sorlandet.
Initially designed to be a one-time event, the first race gathered a lot of interest and soon the Sail Training Association was founded to organise the next races, which they do to this day (now as Sail Training International - STI).