Sunday, December 8th, 2019

SAIL Amsterdam showcases Tall Ships

Published on September 16, 2015 by   ·   No Comments


Copiright: Mijnnaamishaze

For four days, every fifth August since 1975, Amsterdam has appeared to transform into a Medieval Seaport when scores of tall ships sail into “the Venice of the North” for SAIL Amsterdam.

Forty years ago the inaugural show, SAIL Amsterdam 700, was organised as part of the celebrations for Amsterdam’s 700th jubilee.  Ships from around the world were invited to moor in the City’s waters and the event was such a success that Amsterdam has hosted it every five years since.

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Each SAIL Amsterdam is bigger and better than the one before as more people hear about this amazing maritime spectacle.  This year’s is claimed to be the largest free public event in the world with in excess of two million visitors in only four days and 44 tall ships from all over the world – 23 of them 40m-plus A-class ships.

Among them is the world’s largest traditional sailing ship, which is still sailing, the Russian Sedov, a 108 metre training ship with an almost 100-year-old career, and the Jolie Brise noted elsewhere on MarinaLive! for being the first Fastnet finisher in 1925.  Many more, some coming from as far afield as South America and Australia joined these beauties.  The inaugural parade featuring the entire flotilla was 12km long and took almost seven hours to traverse the Nordzeekanal from the ocean to the heart of the City.

While the tall ships are certainly the focus of the show, SAIL Amsterdam also featured five Royal Netherlands Navy vessels, including the Navy’s newest and largest, the HNLMS Karel Doorman, 11 naval training ships from other countries, and more than 600 vintage vessels dating back to the 1880s.


Copiright: Sjoerd-Hickman

Landlubbers weren’t left out either; the City’s waterfront, the IJ, was host to a series of nightly concerts at the SAIL Music Marina with the show’s tall ships forming the backdrop to the floating stage and fireworks rounding out each evening’s entertainment.

Slightly differently to previous years, the 2015 edition was divided into areas, or ‘oceans’, across the city’s waterfront.  The tall ships took up residence in the ‘Orange Ocean’ close to the city centre, whereas the network of canals inland comprised the ‘Red Ocean’, featuring cultural events and tours of the City’s attractions, including the National Maritime Museum and the Nautical Rijksmuseum as well as the ‘Good Morning SAIL’ tall ship tour.

No modern yachting event would be complete without a nod to environmentalism and green technology.  Therefore it should come as no surprise to learn that SAIL 2015’s ‘Green Ocean’ area was packed with attractions such as the Volvo Ocean Race’s Team Brunel boat and an educational children’s event courtesy of The Ocean Cleanup involving 3D-printed sea monster scales made from repurposed plastic waste.  Finally, the ‘White’ and ‘Blue’ Oceans provided a kind of chillout area and business-specific events respectively.

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Although it’s a shame it only takes place every five years, this makes SAIL Amsterdam a much bigger event than it might be otherwise, and gives the organisers plenty of time to plan the 2020 edition, so the next time the tall ships sail into Amsterdam it’s guaranteed to be another spectacular sight.

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