THE future of the Tall Ships 2021 event in Falmouth remains in the balance with the situation across Europe constantly changing because of Covid, the organisers have said today.

For the moment the event is still going ahead but the worsening situation with Covid in Europe means that there is no guarantee that it will not be cancelled.

A statement issued by the Falmouth Tall Ships organisers this afternoon regarding the Magellan-Elcano series scheduled for August 2021 said: "As there is a continually fluid situation across Europe, and across the globe, with regard to how the COVID pandemic affects 2021 international travel and events, Falmouth Town Council, the Falmouth Town Team, the Falmouth Tall Ships Association and key strategic partners, are in continual liaison with the Tall Ships Races Magellan-Elcano Series 2021 organisers, Tall Ships Races International Ltd (TSRIL), a subsidiary of Sail Training International.

"All major scale international public events, operations and logistical requirements are subject to change in the current climate and the team is working closely together on all details. Should there be a need for any critical changes to the current race, event schedule or makeup, any announcements will be made formally, and in partnership with TSRIL, at the appropriate time."

Falmouth is scheduled to start the Magellan-Elcano 500 Series 2021 Tall Ships Race when up to 40 magnificent sailing vessels are expected to arrive in the port to participate.

The French port of Dunkirk was due to be the host starting port but withdrew due to financial and economic reasons arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The race is due to start in Falmouth on August 19 with vessels arriving during the previous week. The maritime event will mark the sixth time Falmouth has hosted the tall ships, with the inaugural one for the town being held in 1966.

Given current surrounding circumstances related to Covid and potentially necessary social distancing and safety measures, the 2021 Falmouth event will be operationally innovative, whilst adhering to all necessary Government guidelines.

The 2014 Tall Ships Regatta injected over £10 million into the Falmouth area and there are plans for a programme of proactive initiatives and activities for 2021 that can support the local economy and provide a welcome boost for business.

The tall ships are scheduled to be on fore and aft moorings in the harbour off Trefusis, on swinging moorings, berthed at Port Pendennis marina, or in the case of the Class A vessels anchored on the Falmouth Bank as in the 1966 event.

The 2021 event will see the introduction of water-based inner harbour tours to view the tall ships out in their ‘natural’ surroundings, as there will be no public access onto the ships.

If circumstances permit this is hoped to be a huge financial injection of cash that the town needs after the lockdowns experienced this year and last year.

With August being peak holiday season it is hoped this event will bring tens of thousands of people flocking to the area.

The race will commemorate the 500th anniversary of the circumnavigation of the globe by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and Basque explorer Juan Sebastian Elcano.

On August 10, 1519, five ships sailed from Seville on voyage that took three years to complete with Elcano finally sailing his vessel back into Seville on September 6 1522.

Magellan was killed in the Philippines by natives in a skirmish and later 30 of his crew were ambushed and murdered at a feast. Elcano took command of the ship Victoria eventually bringing it back to Spain.