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Le Havre and Dunkirk to host 2025 Tall Ships Races

World’s most spectacular sailing event to start from Le Havre amidst a fanfare of nautical festivity

Tall ships moored at Le Havre during the port’s 500th anniversary in 2017 Pic: Sail Training International and Valery Vasilevsky

The world famous Tall Ships Races for 2025 will start at Le Havre, from whence the finest fleet of the world’s biggest sail ships will race through the English Channel and North Sea on a series of “exhilarating” and challenging stages.

There will be four days of celebrations from July 4 to 7 in the Paul-Vatine basin and the Eure basin of the ancient and scenic Normandy port. The announcement was made by the English Sail Training International last week.

Visitors will be welcomed free of charge on board the sailboats by crew and skippers alike, and events will be hosted in a specially set up village.  

Le Havre was chosen after the success of the Grandes Voiles in 2017, which celebrated the 500th anniversary of the city, when more than 100,000 people came to see 30 of the most beautiful sailing ships in the world.

The Tall Ships Races started in the early 1950s and the 2025 races will leave Le Havre on July 7 for a parade to Cap de la Hève. Then they will embark on Race One to Dunkirk (North). Race Two will be to the Scottish port of Aberdeen, before embarking on Race Three, to Kristiansand in Norway.

“We are confident that they will each provide a stunning reception for the Tall Ships fleet and that together they will embrace Sail Training International’s mission of youth development and international friendship and understanding,” said the Tall Ships Races CEO, Alan James.

The event will start on Friday, July 4 and continue through until Saturday, August 2. With host ports from three countries – France, UK and Norway – The Tall Ships Races 2025 will fill its sails the length of the English Channel before hanging a left and doing the same in the North Sea.

“It is with great pleasure that we announce the host ports for 2025, welcoming back old friends and greeting new ones alike to the sail training family,” added Mr James.

“Each edition of The Tall Ships Races sees young people from around the world challenge themselves to do something amazing as they overcome fears, rise to challenges and enjoy the adventure of a lifetime.

“We hope that The Tall Ships Races 2025 will be an attractive route for vessel operators and will offer exciting and adventurous opportunities for the thousands of young trainees that we expect to take part.”

The event provides an opportunity not just to sail, but to bring together different nationalities, religions and cultures and “promote international friendship and understanding.”

About the host ports

Le Havre: The Normandy port of Le Havre was the final port of the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta and it closed the prestigious event in dramatic style with over 100,000 visitors enjoying the final day of celebrations. The Tall Ships organisation says it is “delighted” to return to the city as the start point.

Dunkirk: The Tall Ships Races 2025 will mark the first time that Dunkirk has hosted a Tall Ships Races event, and this coastal commune which brings together history, natural beauty and contemporary art, will act as the “perfect” finish port for Race One.

Aberdeen: Scotland’s third largest city is the capital of the north east, and a centre for maritime excellence. The city has hosted an array of sporting and cultural events, including The Tour of Britain, Spectra: Scotland’s festival of light, and the Nuart Aberdeen street art festival.

Kristiansand: Norway’s southernmost city, founded in 1641, Kristiansand is one of Norway’s best examples of Renaissance architecture and hosted the Tall Ships Races in 2010 and 2015. Both events proved to be the biggest and most successful ever organised in the city, claim the organisers.

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