The vessels started to leave the town’s harbour area for the parade of sail late this morning in preparation for the 200 nautical-mile stretch to Stavanger in Norway.
They sailed by two saluting vessels, the Royal Navy offshore patrol vessel HMS Mersey and the Norwegian coastguard ship Aalesund. They were then free to break formation to make their way to the starting point.
The ships congregated by Class, with the largest – Class A – ships leaving first from 5pm onwards. They are expected to reach the finish line close to the Geitengen Lighthouse near Stavanger from tomorrow evening. Their departure came 24 hours late, following a delayed departure yesterday because of high winds.
Meanwhile, a minute’s silence was held at a united church service yesterday as a mark of respect to those lost or injured during the terror attacks in Norway. Many of the Tall Ships crews have hailed from Norway, and flags have been flown at half-mast since the incidents took place. The service, at Holmsgarth, was led by Aubrey Jamieson of the Fishermen’s Mission.