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Tall ships festival

As part of the whole Americas Cup shebang the iconic tall ships are back in Bermuda and twenty or so of these wonderful vessels are moored on Front Street as part of the Tall Ships Festival.

The ships are here as part of the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta, a 7,000 nautical mile Trans-Atlantic journey that started on the Thames in Greenwich in April before sailing to Sines in Portugal and now onto Bermuda. After departing Bermuda next week the fleet will race to Boston, then to Canada and Prince Edward Island and Quebec City. Then they race back to Europe to finish the Regatta in Le Havre at the beginning of September.

The tall ships were last here in 2009, and I was lucky enough to be on one of them the other night for drinks and a tour. The Osterschelde is 100-years old next year and was built in the Netherlands in 1918 at the order of the Rotterdam shipping company HAAS and is the last remaining representative of the large fleet of schooners that sailed under the Dutch flag at the beginning of the 20th century. Her name is derived from the eastern part of the Schelde river that flows from France through Belgium and the Netherlands to the sea and Oosterschelde is the largest restored Dutch sailing ship, which is a monument for Dutch shipbuilding and maritime navigation under sail.

The Oosterschelde was a freight carrier and moved hundreds of tons of cargo including bricks, herring and bananas. Ownership changed numerous times before being bought in 1988 and restored to her former glory.

The water around Bermuda is awash with some of the most amazing boats at the moment, from super yachts to chase boats. But the contrast between the brazen power and technological advancement of the Americas Cup race boats and the intricately decorated and charming tall ships sharing the same body of water is a happy sight.

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