Tall ships are to return to Falmouth when the port hosts the start of the prestigious race next year.

It will be the first time in nine years that the tall ships race has taken place in Falmouth – and a second attempt after the planned Tall Ships Race scheduled for August 2020 and then rescheduled for last year both had to be cancelled due to the continued uncertainty of the Covid pandemic.

It has now been secured once again thanks to extensive behind-the-scenes work by the award-winning Falmouth Town Team – the partnership between Falmouth Town Council and Falmouth BID, alongside Perfect Events Group and Falmouth Tall Ships Association. Falmouth Harbour Commissioners will also be involved in the planning.

This will be the sixth time Falmouth has hosted the prestigious regatta and race, with the inaugural one for the town being held in 1966.

Next year will see Tall Ships Race Magellan Elcano starting from Falmouth between August 15 and 18 next year.

Richard Gates, Falmouth town manager, said: "It’s a welcome return for the Tall Ships Races, after it was postponed in 2020, and 2021, due to Covid restrictions. Our town’s history is intertwined with these magnificent vessels so you could say they are coming home!

"We’re really excited to be the venue for the start of the races. As always, we look forward to the truly awe-inspiring spectacle of the tall ships as they sail into the harbour.”

The official race will start on Friday, August 18 2023 and will be preceded by a Parade of Sail and several days of celebratory shoreside events in Falmouth. Exact timings of the Parade of Sail will be confirmed nearer the time.

The race will follow a course from Falmouth to A Coruna in Spain, then onward to Portugal’s capital, Lisbon before finishing in Cadiz, Spain.


An aerial shot of Falmouth Tall Ships 2014 Picture: Falmouth Tall Ships Group

An aerial shot of Falmouth Tall Ships 2014 Picture: Falmouth Tall Ships Group


Tall Ships Falmouth 2023 will be underwritten by Falmouth Town Council, with financial support from Falmouth Business Improvement District (BID) and Falmouth Tall Ships Association.

A number of key partners and local businesses will be providing in-kind support to help cover the costs associated with hosting the event and there will also be opportunities for sponsors to get involved.

Falmouth mayor Steve Eva said of today's announcement: "This really is fantastic news for the town and Falmouth Town Council is only too pleased to support.

"Credit must go to the efforts and behind the scenes negotiations by our brilliant Town Team for securing this event for the benefit of our community, businesses and visitors.

"To announce this, having recently delivered a superb in-person Sea Shanty Festival and the news of the National Armed Forces Day, is truly incredible.

"We have a strong pedigree in delivering memorable tall ships races and regattas over the years; they really hold a special place in the hearts and minds of so many. We greatly look forward to viewing the ships under full sail in Falmouth Bay once again!”

Visitors will have the opportunity to board some of the historic tall ships as they will be sited within the A&P Falmouth Docks. Tickets to access these ships will go on sale nearer the time and will be priced at £5 for adults and £2.50 children.

Explaining the tariffs, Richard Gates added: “To put on a spectacle such as the tall ships, for the benefit of all requires considerable investment and resource, made especially challenging due to the current financial climate. So, for the 2023 event, it will be necessary to charge an admission fee to help cover some of the costs associated with hosting an event of this status.”


Unfurling the sails on Dar Mlodziezy tall ship

Unfurling the sails on Dar Mlodziezy tall ship


Richard Wilcox, executive director of Falmouth BID, said the last tall ships event in 2014 saw more than 150,000 visitors across the four days, resulting in a £10.5million uplift for Cornwall.

He added: "So, the event is not only a wonderful occasion, thanks to the hard work of many individuals, organisations and volunteers, but it will provide a crucial and timely economic boost to the county and its businesses.”

The news has also been welcomed by Miles Carden, CEO of Falmouth Harbour, Tall Ships Races chief executive officer Alan James and John Hick, chairman of the Falmouth Tall Ships Association, who said: "Cornwall’s maritime heritage is world renowned and we look forward to delivering another prestigious event here in Falmouth.

"We also enthusiastically welcome the owners and captains of the Tall Ships Races international fleet and invite them once again to grace our historic port with their wonderful sailing ships.”

See photos and articles from the last event in 2014 here: Falmouth Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Regatta 2014