Fleet head from Waterford to Greenock

Waterford waved goodbye yesterday to forty majestic sailing ships as they set off for Greenock in Scotland at the start of the Tall Ships Race 2011.

After an amazing few days in Ireland, during which the city played host to 424 crew and more than a thousand trainees from a dozen different countries, the ships got underway from 1500hrs in a favourable breeze, with the fleet soon led by Russian vessel Mir.

A massive welcome awaits them on the Clyde, as a free festival takes place over four days to celebrate the return of the Tall Ships Race after more than 50 years.

Organisers of the shore-based events Sail Inverclyde are expecting up to 800,000 people to attend the entertainments next weekend, which will include performances from Lulu and Deacon Blue, a huge fireworks display and a Red Arrows flypast.

From Greenock the fleet will continue in a cruise-in-company to Lerwick in the Shetland Islands, then race on to Stavanger in Norway before concluding in Halmstad, Sweden, in early August.

Photo/information: www.sailtraininginternational.org