The countdown to the Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Festival 2017 has begun, with just one year before a fleet of Tall Ships gathers at Woolwich and Greenwich

The countdown to the Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Festival 2017 has begun, with just one year to go before a stunning fleet of Tall Ships gathers in the Thames at Woolwich and Greenwich on 13 April 2017.

Next Easter’s festivities are set to hand a huge boost to the local economy and local businesses, with hundreds of thousands of visitors expected to arrive in the borough’s local town centres to see the Tall Ships.


The event will also hand a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to dozens young people to experience life on the high seas, training and sailing on the first leg of the Sail Training International Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta.

The Tall Ships Festival in 2014 proved a fantastic occasion for the royal borough, making headlines across the world and cementing Royal Greenwich’s reputation as a world class destination for tourists. It was attended by around 1.1 million visitors, bringing £17.7 million into the local economy.

From 13 to 16 April 2017, ships will be anchored at two festival sites in the royal borough – at the Maritime Greenwich UNESCO World Heritage Site in Greenwich town centre, and the Royal Arsenal Riverside in Woolwich. The finale of the festival has already been confirmed with a huge Parade of Sail on 16 April, when around 40 tall ships will sail down the Thames in convoy en route to Quebec, Canada, via Portugal, Bermuda and Boston USA.

The regatta marks the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation, when Canada officially became a nation.

Cllr Denise Hyland, Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich said:

‘One year from now the majestic Tall Ships will once again arrive in the Royal Borough and I look forward to welcoming them for another unforgettable event. The Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Festival 2017 is an unrivalled opportunity to attract visitors from across the UK and the world to the Royal Borough, boosting the local economy and providing young people with an experience that could help shape their future by developing their confidence and building leadership and teamwork skills.’


Gypsy Moth IV at Greenwich before he restoration

The Royal Borough is delighted to announce Lady Rona Delves Broughton as the Patron of the Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Festival 2017. The owner of the Mercure London Greenwich Hotel, Lady Delves Broughton will now work alongside the council to help deliver the festival in 2017 and ensure that residents and businesses in the Royal Borough will once again benefit from the spectacle of the Tall Ships.

Lady Delves Broughton, who played an important part in the Tall Ships Festival 2014 as a sponsor and business partner, said:

‘I am both delighted and honoured to be The Patron of the Tall Ships Regatta 2017. Together with the Council our intention is to make this Regatta even more spectacular than the 2104 event  and  it is our intention that it will be enjoyed by even more participants than in 2014 and watched not only by local residents but to reach out to a far wider  audience than before. I am confident the 2017 Regatta will be a superb spectacle for residents and bring many visitors to Royal Greenwich which is expected to bring great benefit to local businesses.’

Cllr Denise Hyland, Leader of the Royal Borough, said:

‘I would like to thank Lady Delves Broughton on behalf of the Royal Borough for agreeing to become patron of the Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Regatta 2017. Her support will help to significantly raise the event’s profile, and will really help to make the Regatta the best it can be.’

Sail trainees to be recruited

As part of the Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Festival 2017, the Council is seeking to recruit sail trainees to set sail on some of the festival’s magnificent Tall Ships on the voyage of a lifetime. The trainees will sail with the fleet on the first leg of the race, learning how to sail the ships to the port of Sines in Portugal and taking part in an exhilarating sailing race.

The trainees will spend around two weeks on board, from 16 April to 1 May 2017. With help from the ships’ captains and the crews, the trainees will get the opportunity to steer at the helm, climb the rigging, take watches and chart the ship’s progress, learning team and leadership skills, time management and building their confidence.

On arrival in Portugal the trainees will then be able to enjoy the festivities in historic Sines, a port from Roman times and birthplace of the famous explorer Vasco de Gama. The trainees will take part in the crew parade and participate in sporting and cultural activities.

People of any ability, gender and with any level of sailing experience or disability are welcome to make applications, and there are funded places for people who meet our criteria. To find out more and to register your interest in becoming a sail trainee visit: