Sunday saw tens of thousands of watchers gather on land and at sea to watch the spectacular Tall Ships head out into Falmouth Bay for the parade of sail.
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The flotilla is believed to be the largest in Falmouth Bay in living memory and over 100,000 locals and visitors revelled in idyllic Cornish weather to see the finale of the maritime spectacle.
Tall Ships chairman John Hick said: “Without a doubt there were more craft, and more people on the water than any of us have seen in living memory. Today is the grand finale of months and months of the hardest work and detailed planning and Cornwall has indeed done itself proud. Hundreds of people have worked tirelessly to make this all possible.”
"As these 44 magnificent giants take to the water, alongside a panorama of supporting vessels, it is an emotional moment for us all. Everything has gone so smoothly and the team here has come together to provide an exemplary event for our fifth Tall Ships. Once again it has been delightful welcoming Sail Training International and we are grateful to have all the ships and crews with us here in Cornwall.”
James Stevens, the Race Chairman for Sail Training International, the organisation that runs the Tall Ships races, said: "Falmouth is undoubtedly one of the best natural harbours in the UK – a truly fantastic backdrop, steeped in maritime and sailing history. It’s a stunning port to enter and exit; deep water and a beautifully sheltered harbour that is ideal and navigationally very simple. This means the ships can concentrate on the trainees, many of whom are sailing on a Tall Ship for their first ever race – an historic race given that it’s the first ever from one British port to another.”
“Falmouth, and Cornwall at large, has really put its foot on the accelerator for this event – everyone from the street cleaners and rubbish collectors to the volunteers, the Harbour Master and the organising team, it has just been phenomenal.
"The whole atmosphere of the town has been really buzzing in a way unique to Falmouth with a real feeling of pride from the people of the town. This energy has invigorated the whole event; and the ships, their Captains and all their crews are sailing out with Cornish memories that will stay with them for life.”
Over 70,000 people have visited the Falmouth dock site for the 2014 Tall Ships Regatta.
Falmouth’s town manager and business improvement manager Richard Gates and Richard Wilcox confirmed that they estimated that the town had welcomed over 230,000 people across the four day spectacle including more than 100,000 today. Hotels, shops, cafes, bars, restaurants and all kinds of businesses in Falmouth have been busy catering for the tens of thousands arriving in the town.
Peter Fraser, who owns the Harbour Lights fish and chip shop, said in the 14 years he had run the business, this was the busiest period he had ever experienced.
"Trade has doubled this week," he said. "The day of the Red Arrows in Falmouth Week is normally our busiest day of the year, yet the first day of Tall Ships was even busier than that. We’re anticipating that we’ll go through two tonnes of potatoes today, which is ridiculous – but brilliant!”
Visitors and locals alike admired a colourful fireworks display last night, sponsored by Saga, who also had a cruise liner participate in today’s Parade of Sail. A full programme of entertainment has also seen the town full to capacity every single day.
Falmouth Tall Ships Regatta Event Manager Sam Groom said: “It was exciting for us all to see today’s magnificent spectacle as we handed control back to Sail Training International for the race administration and we wish all involved the very best with their next stop at Royal Greenwich. The event would not be possible without the tremendous support from all our official partners, event sponsors and supporters.
"Each of these organisations have provided us with so much more than we could have hoped and we trust they’ll agree that it has all been worthwhile. I would also like to express the event team’s gratitude to the emergency services who have supported the planning from the outset and without their input the event would not have been possible.
“The economic impact report will demonstrate the positive effect of the event in Falmouth and the wider Cornwall community. There is no doubt that people will be talking about the event for many years to come.”