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Saturday, July 31, 1999 Published at 16:23 GMT 17:23 UK


Tall Ships festival hailed a success

Greenock, on the river Clyde, coped well with its 600,000 visitors

Glorious weather and a party atmosphere brought more than 600,000 visitors to the four-day Tall Ships festival in Scotland.

Organisers say they were delighted with the turnout - at least 100,000 more than they had expected.

Leading event organiser Helen Drummond and the Chief Executive of Inverclyde Council, Robert Cleary, said there had been a fantastic response from the public - helped in part by the great weather.

[ image: About 78 boats are taking part in the race]
About 78 boats are taking part in the race
The police were also delighted with how things had turned out.

They thanked motorists for using the three designated park-and-ride sites which helped to keep traffic jams to a minimum.

Superintendent Alistair Anderson, who was in charge of the traffic operation, said: "I am sure that the memories people will have of the Tall Ships event are those of a wonderful day and not of being stuck in a traffic jam."

Thousands of people crowded along Greenock's waterfront on Monday for the event's finale - the parade of sail which was only slightly spoiled by a haze over the water.

The 78 ships taking part in the Cutty Sark Tall Ships Race are now heading to Lerwick in Shetland to prepare for the second stage of the marathon event.

On Sunday - the last full day of the extravaganza - highlights included a coastguard exercise, a flypast by the Red Arrows and a firework display at night.

The event attracted around 120,000 visitors on Saturday, which included a march-past of all 3,000 members of the ships' crews.

[ image: Glorious weather brought the crowds]
Glorious weather brought the crowds
The party atmosphere continued into the evening with an official captain's dinner and a rock concert.

An Italian navy ship won the first leg of the race from St Malo in France to the port of Greenock.

Second place went to the British ship Duet, owned by the English East Coast Sailing School and manned by a crew of 10.

Another British entry, The Greater Manchester Challenge, was placed fifth, with two Norwegian ships, Christian Radich and Statsraad Lemhkul, taking third and fourth place.

The event - organised by the International Sail Training Association - is expected to generate millions of pounds for the Inverclyde economy.

From Lerwick, the vessels will head to the finish at Aalborg in Denmark on 18 August.

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