Sail Away with Rendez-vous Naval 2017

Canada 150
Rendez-vous Naval is bringing tall ships to a port near you in 2017!

Ready to set sail in 2017? Rendez-vous Naval is taking Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation into international waters. A fleet of historic tall ships from around the world are making their way to a port near you as part of the Rendez-vous Naval 2017 Tall Ships Regatta, a pan-Canadian Signature project of Canada 150.

The transatlantic race covers 7,000 nautical miles, stopping in six different countries including Canada. Dropping anchor in over 30 Canadian ports, the full fleet will unite for a grand celebration in Quebec City. That’s not all—with the help of Sail Training International the race is an opportunity for youth to learn the ropes at sea. Climb aboard and find out more from Rendez-vous Naval Chairman François Moreau.

What route do the tall ships take during the race?

Leaving the United Kingdom in April 2017, they head to Sines, Portugal, cross the Atlantic to Bermuda, then Boston, and then come to Canada for 45 days. The last leg of the race before the fleet returns to Europe is between Canada and Le Havre, France.

How will people be able to see the ships once the Regatta reaches Canadian waters?

We’re showcasing the tall ships in around 35 cities in six different provinces from Canada Day until mid-August. There’s a fleet of tall ships coming to Canada from Boston, a fleet coming from Europe, and a fleet from the Great Lakes. The fleet will be split between different cities, and in each city there’ll be free festivities around their visit. The full fleet reunites in Quebec City July 18-23rd.

How can youth get involved with sailing training for the race?

Sail Training International is a non-profit that organizes races and sailing trainees for the ships in Europe. Trainees range from 15 to 25 years old, and in 2017 trainees are invited from across Canada to take part for either one leg of the race, or while the ships are in Canadian waters. We want youth from all over the country to see the other provinces and experience being on the tall ships.

The Rendez-vous Naval Tall Ships Regatta will reach over 30 Canadian ports.
How did the idea to be a part of Canada 150 come to the race?

Sail Training is based in London, England, and the new chairman is from Toronto and encouraged them to come to Canada in 2017. They approached the Mayor of Quebec in 2011 to ask the city to organize festivities to celebrate Canada’s 150th, the city said yes, and they called us [Rendez-Vous Naval] to help. We’re a non-profit too, and we already organize a fleet week every two years featuring naval grey ships with marines to promote the Royal Canadian Marines.

Is there a historic reason tall ships from around the world want to participate in 2017?

The tall ships from Europe almost all used to fish around Newfoundland in the 1940s or ‘50s, so those ships want to return to Canada.

What do you hope people will take away from the tall ships experience?

There are a lot of tall ships in the US, but they aren’t as big as the ones in Europe—having those ships in port is totally incredible. Many of the ships are like museums, when you visit them you get the history of the ship as well. We’ll have a fleet coming from naval marines around the world, and a fleet of private ships—we’re talking around 50 tall ships. I was in Quebec City in 1984 for the 350th anniversary of the discovery of Canada by Jacques Cartier as a guide, and it’s amazing to have a fleet like that in a port like Quebec. We all feel like kids when we see those ships!

Do you think it will inspire an interest in Canada and our history for people who aren’t as connected to it?

I’ve been promoting this event for three years in Europe and every time I present Canada, all the nature and space, every tall ship owner wants to bring their vessel here. There’s a real enthusiasm to see and know more about Canada.

Rendez-vous Naval Chairman François Moreau.

Watch for the Rendez-vous Naval Tall Ships Regatta stopping in ports across Canada in 2017!

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