Tall ships will sail to Turku for the sixth time

”Turku will be one of the host cities for the Tall Ships Races for the sixth time on the Baltic Sea in 2021. The underlying idea of the event, supporting voluntary youth work and sailing, is perfectly suited to the Port of Turku”, says Chief Operating Officer Antti Pekanheimo.

According to surveys made among the audience, ships are what people come to see for 80% of the respondents. A total of 544,000 people visited the event in 2017.

Turku hosted the Tall Ships Races for the first time 25 years ago. Now the City takes on the arrangements with firm experience, but on a tighter than normal schedule, as the preparations are in practice concentrated to one year. The coronavirus will be kept in mind, but yet the city wants to look boldly ahead.

Antti Pekanheimo says that the Port of Turku will ensure that everything is in order in terms of sea and safety factors when the Tall Ships Races will be arranged again in Turku from 5–8 July 2021.

”I’m a former sea scout myself, and I know what kinds of experiences you can have aboard a sailing ship; this is extremely valuable and fine work. It’s great that Turku has adopted a strong role in arranging these events”, Antti Pekanheimo says.

Part of the crew of each vessel participating in the Tall Ships Races event is young people that are on board as students. These trainees pay for their expenses. However, e.g. the City of Turku sponsors a certain number of student places, so that the cost will not become an obstacle to avid young sailors.

Port’s personnel and expertise are needed

The Port of Turku will again be closely involved in the Port Committee to be set up for the event arrangements and be responsible for the sea and safety section.
”We shall see to it that the ships will arrive safely in the port and provide all vessel services. In the event the services will be arranged with a slightly different twist, and more preparations are required, when facilities for the vessels will be built on the Aura riverbank.”

Water supply will be provided to the vessels, and smaller vessels will also get access to electricity. The Port will arranged waste management both for the vessels and the public areas. Oily waste, bilge water and water from septic tanks will also be taken care of.
”We expect that no grey water will be drained to the Baltic Sea, that’s important to us. A new septic tank discharge station will be set up on the mouth of the River Aura, and it can also be used in the future for charter vessels”, Mr Pekanheimo says.

The Port shall see to it that the audience both in boats and on land will be able to enjoy the event. The event will now exceptionally take place on weekdays, and the Ruisrock festival will be arranged on the same week in Turku.

The work contribution of the Sea Rescue Society, scouts and hundreds of other volunteers is invaluably important to the event, without them it would be impossible to arrange the event. Each volunteer is needed, including liaison officers that forward information to the vessels, those working in support activities, and on the follow me vessels that guide the ships to their berths.
”Before the event we will agree on pilotage and contracts with towing companies. E.g. police and the navy will also be present in the event to carry out their official duties and look after safety. Everything will be done in close co-operation.”

The arrangements will be taken care of on the whole up to the final highlight of the event when the river will be closed for the Parade of Sails.
”Vessels are continuously signing up for the event. As the Tall Ships Races of 2020 were cancelled, we expect a record-high number of ships for the next summer”, Mr Pekanheimo says.

Text: Sini Silvàn
Photos: Sini Silván and Jouni Saaristo