After a wait of 12 years, Greenock is finally ready to welcome back The Tall Ships Races in a free, four day extravaganza starting this weekend (9th-12th July).
Representing 14 nations, 57 ships have sailed into Greenock over the past few days and the 1,800 plus crew members are getting them all ship-shape to welcome visitors from all over the UK. More than 700,000 trips by visitors are anticipated over the next four days to the multi-million pound renovated James Watt Dock and Inchgreen sites.
Greenock’s four day event will kick off with a huge welcome extravaganza showcasing the best of local talent between 2pm-4pm on Saturday 9th July. From there, the event will continue to grow with markets, street performances and childrens activities. The first night finale will present Scottish favourite Lulu.
Sunday is just as busy with the crew parade, street theatre and live music from the likes of the Four Poofs and a Piano, X-factor contestant Gamu Nhengu, before indie favourites The Magic Numbers perform live on the main stage.
Monday’s festivities include circus workshops for kids and at the main arena, a specially commissioned opera will be performed by local children before the night is rounded off by Scottish legends Deacon Blue and a massive fireworks performance.
The final day, Tuesday 12th July, will end with a flourishing of unravelled sails, as the ships depart Greenock one by one in the lunchtime Parade of Sail which will be accompanied by a display by the Red Arrows.
Councillor David Wilson, chairman of Sail Inverclyde, the charity organising the shore-based activities, said:
“You can really feel the excitement in the air now for the arrival of The Tall Ships as final preparations begin to take shape.”
“This spectacular event has been in the planning for more than three years and to see it coming together is a great thrill. Our team has been working tirelessly to ensure that there is plenty to see and do across all four days, with entertainment, trade stands and concessions available.”
“There are 57 confirmed Tall Ships docking in Greenock, bringing with them 1,885 crew members to take part in the festivities. Along with the ships as one of the star attractions, we also have an impressive musical line up with headline acts such as Lulu, Deacon Blue and The Magic Numbers taking to the main stage.”
“I think that visitors to the site will have a wonderful experience at The Tall Ships Greenock and we look forward to welcoming them and promise to put on a fantastic event that will be remembered for years to come.”
With sunny weather predicted during the day, organisers Sail Inverclyde, urge visitors to remember to wear sunscreen and drink lots of fluids, and are hoping it will stay dry for the big name bands that will close each night’s event. But if the weather is wet, visitors are being reminded to wear suitable footwear and to bring their umbrellas as that there are plenty of indoor activities to keep visitors entertained all day.
As parking in Greenock will be scarce, anyone looking to visit Greenock over the next four days is encouraged to leave the car at home and take advantage of the park and ride facilities the massive park and ride car parks at Nether Southbar, near Bishopton, by the M8, or at IBM on the A78, between Greenock and Inverkip, or use public transport.
The Tall Ships Races is presented by Szczecin and organised by Sail Training International.
For more information on the event in Greenock, visit www.tallshipsracesgreenock.com