The Tall Ships Races is the worlds largest international open ocean regatta. This is a combination of competition and cruising-in-company. This year the event starts in Waterford, Ireland and on the way to the final port of Halmstad the ships will stop over in Greenock (Scotland) Lerwick (Shetland Islands) and Stavanger (Norway). The entire event takes about one month, starting on the 3rd of July and expected to reach Halmstad on the 4th - 5th of August. In each port there will be a huge celebration on the quay lasting for 4 or 5 days.
The whole idea with the Tall Ships Races is to bolster contacts between young people from different countries and with different social backgrounds. At least half of the crews of the vessels must be between 15 and 25 years old - these are the so-called trainees. About 3000 to 4000 youths are part of the event.
The ships are classed from A to D. In each class the best (fastest) ship wins a prize. The most coveted prize is however given to the ship whose crew has shown the best comradeship and established the best international contacts. That winner is decided by a vote among the crews of the vessels.
The Tall Ships Races are arranged by Sail Training International, STI. This is a non profit organization based in Gosport, England. Twenty five countries are members - among these Sweden - The organization is not affiliated with any political or religious movement.