On Wednesday, Sail Amsterdam, one of the largest nautical events in the world, kicked off in Amsterdam. It appears to be a record year, both in terms of number of visitors and in the number of vessels participating in the event. For the first time, the spectacle features 23 ‘tall ships’, ships whose length is more than 40 meters (A class). The Amsterdam nautical event this year involves 13 newcomers – ships that have never before been part of the Sail event.
On Wednesday the ninth edition of Sail, one of the world’s largest sailing spectacles, began, where a great number of spectators could enjoy sighting a wide range of majestic nautical vessels. The first day was inaugurated by the ringing of the bell of the official opening-ship the Clipper Stad Amsterdam by Prince Maurits. The partaking ships sailed in a 12 kilometre long Sail-in parade from IJmuiden to the IJhaven in Amsterdam, where they since have been anchored. On Sunday the laid up ships from all over the world will leave Amsterdam in the so-named ‘Thank You Parade.’
Sail Amsterdam expects a record number of visitors attending this year’s event. The event is hosted every five years, and up until now the 7th event (2005) holds the record of the highest number of visitors – at 2.6 million. In 2010 ‘merely’ 1.7 million visitors made it to Amsterdam to enjoy the sights of the event – with one of the contributing factors, according to the Sail-organisation, that the event was a day shorter that year. The financial crisis also played a role.
For 2015, the Sail-organisation did not make it their mission to attract a record number of visitors, although predictions are that this year will surpass that of 2010, and possibly even the 2005 record. “First and foremost stands a safe and a successful event. The fact that the event is weather dependent makes it difficult to make an accurate prediction,” says a spokesperson.
While the breaking of the visitors’ record is clouded, Sail 2015 will be the largest edition ever in terms of the number of ships. In total, 44 tall ships – large ocean-going sailing ships – from all over the world will take part in this year’s edition. 23 of these ships fall under the A-Class – ships with a length of more than 40 meters (‘tall ships’). This is more than ever before in the history of the event, which has existed since 1975. Prior to this year the record stood at 21 A-classers, sailing in the 2005 edition.
Thirteen of the ships taking part made their first appearance at the Amsterdam event this year. It is expected that the thirteen will draw a significant crowd, as well as the world’s largest traditional sailing ship still sailing, the Sedov from Russia. However, the longest vessel participating in this edition is the Zr. Ms. Karel Doorman, the 204.7 meter long Dutch navy ship that joined the service in April 2015.