Falmouth’s association with the sea and ships has been a part of Cornwall’s heritage for centuries, as have the people of the area, many of whom have derived a living from the mercantile trade.
The Packet ships, ocean going clippers and the coastal trading sailing vessels have long ceased their trade, being superseded by their modern equivalent, that still come to Falmouth for many reasons.
So it is not surprising that Falmouth always gives an enthusiastic welcome to these ships of bygone times. The world is fortunate that many of these vessels have been restored and looked after and that they still ply the oceans, albeit in a different capacity, that of sail training.
The organisation that has taken the lead is Sail Training International, who annually host races and Falmouth has been chosen on three occasions in 1966, ‘82 and ‘98 to be the start port for the Tall Ships’ Race.
Some of the Falmouth organising committee, who have been involved with the staging of these events, decided to form an association with the express purpose of inviting and looking after tall ships, whether in a race gathering or individually.
The Falmouth Tall Ships Association, with the enthusiastic support of the people in the region, have been responsible for welcoming many of these sail training vessels and their crews to the port.
The financial risk is considerable and fundraising is a continual process, but the sight of a square-rigged ship, alongside or anchored in Falmouth Harbour, open to the public, their crew given a warm welcome, is a sight that is reward enough for the Association.