Tall Ships returning to Falmouth
THE splendour of dozens of majestic tall ships is set to draw thousands of people to Falmouth in 2014.
The port has once again been chosen to host a leg of racing, this time for the Iberian Tall Ships Regatta.
Up to 25 tall ships from across the world will visit the port and the event, pencilled in for September, is set to provide a welcome boost to the economy.
John Hick, chairman of the Falmouth Tall Ships Association, made the announcement last week.
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"We have this great opportunity to bring many major sail training ships to Falmouth and show them the hospitality that is synonymous with the town," he said.
"Falmouth's association with the sea and ships has been part of Cornwall's heritage for centuries and Falmouth always gives an enthusiastic welcome to these ships of bygone times."
The next 18 months will be spent planning, raising sponsorship and organising a whole host of activities, which will run through the town during the festival.
These will include a carnival, fireworks and children's art as well as parties aboard the ships and sailing. And hundreds of crew will be welcomed.
The Falmouth festival is being delivered by Cornwall Development Company to Sail Training International requirements, with Visit Cornwall working in partnership with Falmouth Town Council, Falmouth Harbour Commissioners, A&P Falmouth, the tall ships association, Cornwall Marine Network, National Maritime Museum Falmouth and other partners.
Greenwich in London will host a leg and Santander in Spain is also expected to, but this has yet to be confirmed.
The last time Falmouth hosted the event was in 2008, which generated around £12 million for the local economy, and it has also done so in 1996, 1982 and 1998. It is the reputation that has been built up through those previous ones that helped it secure this festival.
"We had so many positive comments from 2008 and hopefully we can do the same in 2014," said Sam Groom from VisitCornwall.
"It makes economic sense and we didn't look at the PR value of the event in 2008.
"Having Greenwich on board is advantageous as VisitBritain will be promoting it."
Cornwall Council has underwritten the event to the tune of £100,000 and plans will be drawn up to bring in a further £80,000 through donations and sponsorship as well as organising around 200 volunteers to help manage the festival.
Mayor Geoffrey Evans said: "It is great news for Falmouth as it's a very popular event."