Waterford: Over Half-A-Million Visitors Expected At Tall Ships Festival

30 Jun

A Tall Ship en route to Waterford was involved in a collision with a yacht overnight.

 
Yacht - Mast broken in collision

Yacht – Mast broken in collision
 
 Tall Ships - Yacht involved in collision

Tall Ships – Yacht involved in collision
 

One of the Tall Ships on its way to Waterford collided with a yacht overnight.

The Class B vessel, ‘Irene’ with five crew members and 12 trainees on board was in collision with a 25-foot yacht near Kilmore Quay.

The yacht’s mast was broken and it was towed to Rosslare Harbour.

The ‘Irene’ is continuing on its journey to Waterford.

The Coast Guard helicopter, based at Waterford Airport, was called out, as well as other emergency services but nobody was injured.

45 Tall Ships, from the largest Class A to smallest Class D, are arriving in Waterford for tomorrow’s official opening.

NEWS UPDATE:

MORE than half a million people are expected to flock to Waterford over the next four days for the Tall Ships Race 2011, which kicks off today.

The internationally acclaimed annual competition brings over 1,000 crew members from around the world to Waterford and 100 young Irish people will join the ships alongside their international peer as trainee crew members, for the first leg of The Race.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny will officially open the event today at 3.15pm on the riverside at William Vincent Wallace Plaza to a performance by a choir of 250 Waterford voices.

A performance by Waterford-born renowned illusionist and television presenter Keith Barry will follow Mr Kenny’s opening.

The four days will also feature artists such as Sharon Shannon, the Waterboys, Damien Dempsey and Waterford band O Emperor.

The Tall Ships Race was previously held in Waterford in 2005 and was a huge success attracting 450,000 people to the city.

Organisers believe they can easily exceed that number this year, given greatly improved road and rail links.

“We certainly anticipate a much bigger crowd this year. There is a higher level of entertainment with great artists headlining the event. The volunteer effort has been significant in terms of magnitude,” said organising committee member Rachel Sherry.

The return of The Tall Ships to the South East region will be celebrated with a festival programme of Irish and international acts, street theatre, fireworks, music and food.

The festival is costing €3 million to stage — coming from sponsors including €600,000 from Tourism Ireland — but organisers say the outlay will be returned many times over, with half of all visitors coming from outside the county.

More than 45 tall ships will be on display along the city quays — and event organisers estimate it will generate €35m worth of business for Waterford city.

Waterford had to compete against 23 other cities to stage the event this year, while Dublin is set to get its chance to host the event in 2012.

Meanwhile one of the Tall Ships on route to Waterford collided with a yacht on Tuesday night.

The vessel Irene had five crew members and 12 trainees on board when it collided with a 25-foot yacht near Kilmore Quay.

The yacht was towed to Rosslare Harbour and continued onto Waterford. All members arrived safely and no injuries were reported.

The festival will draw to a close on Sunday with 45 vessels participating in a glorious Parade of Sail along the Waterford and Wexford estuary.

Most ships will be open to the public from Thursday through to Saturday, from early morning to late evening and admission is free.

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