Don't miss your ship or „Tall Ships Races” has arrived
„You should not miss it, because we don't know when regatta will be in Latvia next time,” says Uģis Lībietis, member of Latvian Sailing Training Association and leader of Volunteering Communication Officers Service, when speaking to „Rīga 2014” culture portal. He says he remembers the regatta from 2003 quite well.
We discuss the fact that only seven or eight A class sailers were shown in Riga Port ten years ago, but now there are twenty of them. Besides, everyone may climb on board if they wish to do so.
When asked about why regatta is so popular Lībietis says: „It's hard to explain the big number of regatta sailers. Maybe it's because the event is held at The Baltic Sea. Besides, there are many participants in the class of small yachts coming from Poland and Russia. For instance, Dublin got 49 participants at their regatta which is two times lees than in Riga. ”The Tall Ships Races„ regatta is organised once in four years, so it's mainly because of Uģis Kalmanis, Chairman of The Board of Latvian Sailing Training Association.”
Speaking of participants, Lībietis notes that Brazilian sailer „Cisne Branco” takes part at the regatta in order to promote their upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup and Rio 2016 Olympics.
„The most exsotic and distant sailers will be from the Sultanate of Oman, it's called ”Shabab Oman„ and has received Grand Prix four or five times. The other sailer will be Brazilian ”Cisne Branco„.”
Also the usual big sailers such as „Kruzenshtern” will be there. It has not been in Riga since the nineties when it departed from the city..so it will be a comeback of ”Kruzenshtern„.” „Mir” sailer, in its turn, is quite a regular guest in Riga.
When thinking of the added value of this event, Lībietis asked himself what is the exact value of a current Dali exhibition in Liepaja. "You see those works and remember them. The same with the regatta. People might see them and maybe decide to sail one day. For us organising the event the benefit is our young students who learn to sail during the training sessions. Even ten percent of them continuing to sail would be a great value.
Riga has always been a big port. We had lots of sailers back in our days until the forties. Indeed, Latvian people have some romantic memories about those years. That is why regatta attracts so many seniors."
Lībietis emphasizes that all A-class sailers will be open for visitors. He really advises to come and see all decks and to get to know sailers' crew. „Also with Brazilian and Oman team members, of course, if visitors speak English,” smiles Lībietis reminding that brochures will be available at the port entrance in order to collect sailers' stamps as unique souvenirs. „We don't know yet what activities will be offered by regatta participants when coming to Riga. For instance, Mexicans climbed on the yards, but in Aarhus two sailers did an improvisation of a sea battle..”
Does Lībietis still find the regatta romantic even though he has been in this business for years? „I have sailed with ”Mir„ and am familiar with the inside situation quite well. Still, ”Mir„ is like home to me even if eleven years have passed by fom my first sailing. Our relationship is so good that once, when ”Spaniel„ had to sew its sail, they came to ”Mir„ for help. After the work was done, they offered some money. ”Mir„ then told they do not take money from friends. ”Mir„ has been very understanding for a cadet programme, as well.”
Lībietis invites everyone to come visit this international event promising a spectacular programme for the family (check out www.sailriga.com). „If someone does not like sailers he can visit Latvian National Armed Forces, get in a helicopter or watch some concerts, go to the traditional Chanel Regatta or do anything else. Of course, there is also the splendid team parade, very exciting and bright event, it's when all 3000 participants go on parade in Riga streets,” lists Lībietis adding that it might be the right place for romantic mood.
„The Tall Ships Races” will reach its zenith on Sunday morning, 28 July, when all sailers and yachts will raise sails. They will slowly go along Daugava for two hours (11.30 to 13.30) with the starting point in Old Riga and continuing towards Daugava entry. Organisers say the most suitable watching will be available at Voleru iela (Voleri Street) and parking lot as well as Matrožu iela 15 (15 Matroži Street). You may watch how sailers depart from the sea gate. Everyone going to Mangaļsala is advised to use public transport.