Tall Ships in Waterford

lord nelson 2019

Tall Ships’ Races 2019 began in Aalborg, Denmark this morning, Sunday 16 June!

Last Friday, while walking along the river, I was very pleased to see Lord Nelson berthed near the bridge. At home, I went through the old pictures and decided to put up a blog about the tall ships – for a change.

Waterford hosted the Races twice – in 2005 and 2011, and has the honour of being the first Irish city to host the start of the Tall Ships’ Races with almost 90 ships in 2005 and 45 ships in 2011. This is Lord Nelson in 2011.

lord nelson 2011

A mile long Waterford Quay was packed in 2005. It was the most colourful festival Waterford had ever seen. A whole fleet of ships were berthed on both sides of the river, and it was quite a hike to get around all the people queuing to board and receive a stamp in their souvenir passport. Some ships were docked by two, and the crew members from the outside vessel had to walk through the other vessel to get to town. This also made photographing difficult. Besides, the weather was not great for photography with just a few sunny spells in five days.

Ireland was represented by three ships. This is a famine ship replica Jeanie Johnston.

jeanie johnston

jeanie johnston

The other replica famine ship is Dunbrody. You can visit her in New Ross, just 15 minutes drive from Waterford city. Patrick Kennedy, JFK’s great-grandfather, set off to America from the New Ross quays in 1848.


In the picture below, you can catch a glimpse of the Pride of Baltimore II. The first Pride of Baltimore was lost at sea returning from the Caribbean on May 14 1986. She was possibly struck by a white squall, and her captain and three of the crew died. In September 2005, only two month after docking in Waterford, the Pride of Baltimore II sailed in a squall in the Bay of Biscay and suffered a complete dismasting. No one died, thankfully.

pride of baltimore II and artemis

Pride of Baltimore II, docked behind Tenacious.

tenacious and pride of baltimore II

As the focus of the races is on training, at least 50% of any crew has to be between 15 and 25 years old, but of course there are some much older trainees, and also trainees with disabilities. The SV Tenacious is a British wooden sail training ship, specially designed to accommodate people of all physical abilities to sail side by side as equals.

This is the figurehead of SV Tenacious.


Below, Russian three-masted training ship Mir in 2005.

mir 2005

I finally got on board of Mir in 2011, with a friend of mine. I was in awe.

mir 2011

Not being able to swim a full lap in the local swimming pool, I love all things water and can successfully navigate a paddle boat. I have been on Stena Line ferries, but there is nothing like standing on a sail ship and looking out at the water ahead.


This young cadet is barely sixteen. Hope he has a successful career.

mir 2011

I checked the trackerMir is currently taking part in the races. Wishing them best of luck!

Another legend  – the barque Eagle, formerly Horst Wessel, one of four sailing ships that were distributed by drawing of lots with the allies after the end of the World War II. A smaller vessel with the colourful sails is a three-masted schooner of the Uruguayan Navy – Capitan Miranda.

eagle and capitan miranda

Magnificent Sagres, a school ship of the Portuguese Navy has a long history. Indonesian three-masted barquentine Dewaruci moored behind her was ‘adopted’ by Waterford city following the devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2004.

sagres and devaruci

A young sailor from Sagres.

sagres I

Dewaruci‘s figurehead.


It was so sad to see Dewaruci leave the quays. The dancing crew gave their last performance which was truly spectacular.


Another friendly and fun crew that left fond memories were the young sailors from the Omani Royal Navy barquentine Shabab Oman, which can be translated as Youth of Oman.

Originally named the Captain Scott, the ship was built as a schooner, and refitted as a barquentine after she was sold to Sultan of Oman. She is constructed of wood and looks charming. In 2014 she was replaced with a new ship of the same name and remains moored at the Royal Navy base in Oman. I wish I took more pictures…


shabab oman

The weather was perfect when we came to Waterford for a day in 2011. I was delighted to take pictures of Norwegian Sørlandet, the world’s oldest full rigged ship still in operation.

sorlandet 2011


Magnificent Europa, a three-mast barque registered in the Netherlands, was originally built in 1911, but there was little left of her when a Dutchman bought her from Germany in 1985. She was fully restored, and what a beauty she is!



Another beautiful ship from the Netherlands, Eendracht. She is Holland’s largest three-masted shooner designed for training young and inexperienced sailors.


Gorgeous figurehead of Christian Radich, a Norwegian full-rigged ship, has a blush on her cheeks, probably because of the fresh breeze. Christian Radich is a remarkable ship – she took part in the very first races in 1956, and came the second. Merchant and captain, Radich died in 1889 and left 90,000 Norwegian kroner to build a training ship. The current Christian Radich is the fourth ship to carry the name.

christian radich

My young friend and I visited Colombian three-masted barque Gloria, and took a ton of pictures with the crew.


We also took some pictures of the interior.



This is the figurehead of Gloria.


Russian four-masted barque Kruzenshtern, (length 114.4 m, or 375 ft) was built in 1926 in Germany as Padua, and given to the Soviet Union as war reparation. I was very surprised to see her in Waterford in 2005, because I wouldn’t imagine this kind of ship fit in our river. It was amazing. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to get aboard, only had a small chat with two young cadets.




I did want to know the purpose of those ‘cats’, and learned that these are the guards preventing the rats from walking up the mooring lines and getting on board.


Amazing job done by our tugboats!

kruzenshtern kruzenshtern


The tall ships set off to Cherbourg.


I want to share a 2005 video. It is very imperfect and long, but it gives you a unique chance to see the tall ships sail out of the Waterford harbour. It wasn’t a good day for sailing since there was no wind at all and the race had to be delayed. The video begins with an interview with a person from the Kruzenshtern – the guy you see in my picture. There was another nice video, but I decided against it because of the Titanic theme they used 🙂 Not the best choice I would say.

Thank you for reading!

www.inesemjphotography Have a wonderful week!


  1. Great pics ! Congratulations –
    http://www.hmsconway.org/ I was fortunate to attend HMS Conway before going to sea. I was there two years, but others – the younger members were there for three years. Some joined at 13 or 14 (I was 16).
    The experience changes a person, mainly for the good, which is why the sailing ships in your blog would be such a positive for the youth of each nation

  2. Hello dear Inese ❤
    I thought I had commented on this wonderful post, but must have forgotten to submit (sigh…).
    I too, was entranced by each shot – I can't imagine the craftsmanship and skill that goes into each ship. And it really is great to see young folks who are so capable and responsible. They have my respect! As always, thank you so much for sharing 😀

    1. Thank you, Takami! ❤ Amazing young men – and I saw a few girls too. Some crews are mostly completed of very young people. I too admire the skill and discipline, and hope this will leave a huge positive impression on their future. Thank you again for your comment! 🙂

      1. I certainly did although I don’t think many were as impressive as yours. I checked my stats earlier and want to say ‘thank you’ Inese. Really appreciated ~ George

  3. Absolutely beautiful 🙂 I was raised by the sea. Finishing home work in a rush to go swimming, take my inflatable boat out. later learned how to sail small boats. Those “three masters” are the witnesses of an other era, the Cape horn, Jack London. Pure beauty. Thanks for the post Inese.
    Have a great week-end.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! They are amazing – not only stunningly beautiful, but also perfect for their purpose. They had traveled between continents across the oceans even in the times when an ordinary person barely left their village once in a lifetime 🙂 They associate with courage and adventure, and all the great books of my childhood 🙂 I love them!
      Have a wonderful Solstice weekend! 🙂

            1. Now that you mention it, possibly. Though a bit late. 🙂 I’ve seen the last lights of a dying world. And I count myself lucky. Maybe London realized that.

  4. Gorgeous, Irene! I must say all my experience with long ships comes from reading (and movies) but even with that, I love them with a passion. I must make sure not to miss any that come visiting Barcelona. Fantastic pics!

    1. Thank you, Olga! I believe some of them come to Barcelona now and then, and you could see them in Thames too. But when you behold a fleet of a hundred, it is breathtaking 🙂

  5. Inese, I’m beside myself. What a wonderful adventure this post is! The ships are breathtaking. Your photos captured the spirit of it all perfectly. It had to be so very hard to choose which pictures to share here. Each one is beautiful, and a nice combination of ships, details, and people too. You made my imagination set sail. Hugs on the wing.

    1. Thank you, Teagan! You are so right, I have many more pictures of the other ships, but there are 40, and I just had to stop myself. Many hugs!

  6. I love tall ships, Inese, and had the absolute pleasure of sailing on one for a (freezing cold) day. The amount of rigging is amazing, as is the skill and knowledge of the crews. I love your photos, particularly the head-on shots of the whole ship with the rows of furled sails. Thanks for sharing your photos and a bit about the ships’ origins and histories. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Diana! It is so exciting to learn you have a tall ship sailing experience. Is there anything you didn’t try? 🙂 Now I see why your maritime scenes are so expertly written.
      Yes, the skill and knowledge of the crews are admirable. And also the discipline. I was also impressed how spotlessly clean the ships are 🙂

  7. Beautiful!
    The tall ships are very handsome, indeed.
    We have had tall ships on the Great Lakes, but not for awhile.

    I must say, my fave pics are of the mast heads…figure heads. Thank you, Inese!

    1. Thank you so much! Not all of the ships are that old. Most of them are 20-50 🙂 The older ships are a rarity, and there are some replicas too. But I agree with you, it was like a time traveling 🙂

  8. This is a cool event. I really love to see those old ships and in particular the ones that are operational as these. I have seen only one in Baltimore. Although it is in the water but it is not operational. It would even be better to see crews run the ship in front of you.

    It seems like common theme to have a lady figure at the bow of the ship.

    1. Thank you so much! Yes, it is fascinating to see the crews running the ships. It is all skill and discipline.
      The figureheads are the works of wonder. The women images prevail, but there are also men, birds, animals, and fantastic figures, like a medusa-looking man’s head on Capitan Miranda 🙂

  9. Great photos and facts! Several years ago a group of international tall ships came to our coast. I enjoyed touring them and seeing the young international sailors in their different and smart uniforms. But they did not race like yours. I will come back and finish watching the video – thanks!

  10. Fabulous Blog Inese! I have never heard of the Tall Ship Races but it was fascinating. My husband and I think we may have seen The Pride of Baltimore in the Baltimore Harbor area quite a while back. Thanks for showing informing us about this!

    1. Thank you so much! They do the races every year. I was lucky to live close. I wouldn’t risk going to any country to see the ships – it is crazy 🙂 500,000 people visited Waterford in 2005, with the population of 45,000 🙂

    1. Thank you so much! Yes, I agree, even for the people like us it would be some experience. Just imagine! And for a young person it would be priceless. Have you seen White Squall? Almost a true story. These things don’t happen too often thankfully.

    1. Oh thank you for the link, Derrick! Yes, I did some research on Tenacious and read about the fund. They even have some people in wheelchairs on board. There is no need to climb the masts or anything. Simply amazing. They had two people with disabilities from Cork at that time.

  11. Lovely photos Inese, and background, and I wonder if there are plans for them to return to Waterford?
    When I was a young teenager I had the chance through school to do a 2 week slot on the Sir Winston Churchill – I’m guessing that might have been involved in Waterford too?
    Quite an undertaking, and experience, not just being on a ship like this, but fitting in with other complete strangers of all ages and backgrounds on your watch system, in a pretty tight closed environment – 8 of you ( I think) per watch basically manning the ship with professional help, on a rotating 8 hour system. At the end we were given a lengthy report/appraisal form, by our watch leader. I don’t have this – lost in “life”, but the phrase “apt to be shy” which was written there, is seared on my mind… I think this is why my parents pushed to send me on it – I really wasn’t that keen, but guess it was a formative experience for me growing up… If anyone has the chance to ever go on such a trip, seize it! You’ll remember bits of it forever, including cleaning out the “heads” on a rolling /tossing hull.
    Best wishes

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Julian. What an amazing experience to have as a teenager. I agree with you and wish more young people would consider this. I guess it is a life changing experience for most.
      Best wishes

  12. What a beautiful post. Always lovely to see the tall ship. I had the opportunity to view the tall ships near my home town and as a reference point Toronto Canada. We were able to go on a couple of ships while they were here. Impressive. Unfortunately, the tall ships don’t visit the island here I would have to go to Vancouver to see them and that is a ferry ride of two hours not to mention the car and passengers which could add up over $2j00.00 Canadian. An expensive trip. Thanks for bringing me fond memories.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Joseph. Delighted that you had the opportunity to go on the ships. I went with a younger friend and we were busy taking pictures of each other with the gorgeous crew members 🙂 Her husband was in the lifeboat just down there, probably having a good laugh watching us 🙂
      I have never seen so many tall ships so close before, but I love them all my life.

  13. That is such a thrilling post! You have whisked up remarkable aura and adventures about those ships. I’d be lost for months aboard those vessels. Is this going to be a series?

    1. Thank you, Uma! No, there won’t be any series. I used some 40 photographs, and there are more, of course, but the story is over 🙂 May be some day Waterford will host the races again, but not in the nearest future since they know the results of the bid 5 years ahead. If I am around, I might go to the races 2021 🙂

  14. There’s always something special about seeing tall ships, isn’t there? Just a few weeks ago, the Santa Maria was here in St. Augustine, Florida—beautiful 😉

  15. wonderfully tall ships
    you’ve got there, inese!
    enjoyed seeing all their pictures
    and story of crews racing.
    i remember seeing some of them
    near amsterdam a decade ago 🙂

    1. Thank you for your comment! Yes, Amsterdam is the place! 🙂 I would love to see a tall ship in full sail somewhere away from the coast, in their element.

  16. A lovely posting!

    And the stately ships go on
    To their haven under the hill;
    But O for the touch of a vanish’d hand,
    And the sound of a voice that is still!
    – Tennyson

  17. I always enjoy the tall ships. Whenever I can I always go up to see the Pride of Baltimore II. It is a great ship with a great crew. I am glad it survived.

    1. I have read that dismasting isn’t something extraordinary. It doesn’t mean the ship is going to sink. I wouldn’t enjoy being on board when this happens though 🙂

  18. Beautiful post and beautiful ships. Believe me, this big city boy loved it.
    Also amazed that men so young were allowed to participate. wonderful to
    see these boys doing something competitive and constructive.

    1. Thank you so much! It seems that our young people are quite capable of responsibility and discipline. I have read about the thirteen years old trainees. Amazing.

Thank you for leaving a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.