SAIL Amsterdam

SAIL Amsterdam

SAIL Amsterdam is a large maritime manifestation that is held every 5 years in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, when tall ships from all over the world visit the city to moor in its Eastern harbour, where people can then admire the ships for four days from the quay or on board (free of charge). [ Sail Training International - Sail Amsterdam ] ]

The event was organised for the first time in 1975 to celebrate the 700 year anniversary of Amsterdam, under the name 'Sail Amsterdam 700'. At that time interrest in tall ships, which had sunk to a low since the 1930's, when the last commercial tall ships had been built, was starting to rise. The success of Sail Amsterdam 700 led to the establishment of the "Stichting Sail Amsterdam" (SSA, "Foundation Sail Amsterdam").

It's the one of the largest maritime manifestations in the world (and the largest event of any kind in the Netherlands), with tens of tallships and hundreds of other historical ships. In terms of the total number of boats present (not just the participating ships) it may very well be the largest aquatic manifestation in the world, with 8000 boats in the 2000 edition. This is largely because sailing is immensely popular in the Netherlands, with hundreds of thousands of boats. If one counts every aquatic vehicle, including windsurfers (but excluding houseboats), that number may even be a million - approximately one for every 15 inhabitants.

During the event there are many 'smaller' events like races for small sailboats, sailor choirs or re-enactments of naval battles. Especially the "Sail In" or "Parade of Sail" on the first day attracts many other small ships, including creations like a sailing organ (with trumpet accompaniment) or a train converted to a ship. On the one but last day there's a naval pageant and on the last day the 'Sail Out'.

It's internationally known to be very informally organised (in true Dutch style), with a lot of freedom for the participants. Ironically, this is seen as the reason very little ever goes wrong. This despite the fact that during the Sail In, the North Sea Canal is absolutely crammed with hundreds (if not thousands) of boats and ships, many of which are steered by landlubbers. In 2000 during the Sail in Bremerhaven everything was so strictly organised that when at some point one thing went wrong, everything started going wrong.

AIL Amsterdam 2005

From the 17th to 22nd of August, 2005 (Wednesday through Monday) it was held for the 7th time. The event was expected to attract 2 to 3 million visitors. The amount of tall ships depends on the definition, but figures vary from 21 (the official figure) to over 50 (those with at least 3 masts). Other historical ships number around 600. There were also several ship replicas (either real sailing ships or fakes that have to be towed), hundreds of classical sail- and steamships ('het Nationaal Varend Erfgoed' - the National Sailing Inheritance) and some modern marine ships. New this year were several modern yachts and a submarine, the Hr Ms Zeeleeuw.

The tall ships were moored in the IJhaven (IJ harbour) and in Amsterdam North (across 't IJ) and the Varend Erfgoed boats were moored in the Oosterdok nearby, where one can also find the Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum (a maritime museum) with its (fake) replica of a Dutch East India Company (VOC) ship, which is permanently moored there. Absent was another Dutch replica of a VOC ship (a 'real' seaworthy replica), the Batavia, with its home port in Lelystad, not too far from Amsterdam.

The main ships, in the order of the official walking-route were (with length and Nation of origin):
*Sedov (117m, flag|Russia) (arrived later, on Friday)
*Tenacious (65 m, flag|Great Britain)
*Amerigo Vespucci (104 m, flag|Italy)
*Mir (109 m, flag|Russia)
*Kruzenshtern (114 m, flag|Russia)
*Prins Willem (the flag|Netherlands) (a replica)
*Stad Amsterdam (76 m, the flag|Netherlands) (the Flagship)
*Sørlandet (64 m, flag|Norway)
*Europa (55 m, the flag|Netherlands)
*Oosterschelde (50 m, the flag|Netherlands)
*Eendracht (59 m, the flag|Netherlands)
*Sagres II (89 m, flag|Portugal)
*Alexander von Humboldt (63 m, flag|Germany)
*Khersones (110 m, flag|Ukraine)
*Pogoria (49 m, flag|Poland)
*Shabab (52m, flag|Oman)
*Oman (flag|Oman)
*Dar Mlodziezy (110 m, flag|Poland)
*Kamper Kogge (flag|Netherlands) (a replica of the kogge, a popular type of ship in the Netherlands in the Middle Ages)
*Statsraad Lemkuhl (98 m, flag|Norway)
*Mircea (81 m, flag|Romania)
*Dewaruci (63 m, flag|Indonesia)
*Tarangini (54 m, flag|India)
*Kaliakra (52m, flag|Bulgaria)

Smaller events included an exposition of yacht building in the newly built Muziekgebouw ('music building'), many music stages, food from all corners of the Earth, fireworks every night at 10 o'clock, a parade of sailors in uniform and the 'Pieremachocheltocht' (even the organisation isn't sure what the word means), a parade of carnavalesque floating creations (open to anyone).

Costs of the event were around 7,5 million €. Direct financial benefits are from sponsoring, catering and sales of souvenirs. In the long run it benefits the prestige of the city Amsterdam.

This year's three themes were the maritime link between past, present and future, the connection of worlds and cultures and youth, with the binding motto 'Enjoy a world of friendships' (in English - the pun doesn't work in Dutch).

On the first day, the ships gather in the sluice of IJmuiden for the "Sail In" or "Parade of Sail" through the North Sea Canal to Amsterdam, led by the event's flagship. In 2005 that was the "Stad Amsterdam", which was supposed to reach Amsterdam first, but she ran aground (allegedly the fact that the Dutch crown prince Willem Alexander was at the helm had nothing to do with that), so the Statsraad Lehmkuhl came in first (it's not a contest, though). Amsterdam's harbour is known to be very shallow (a centuries old problem) and the Stad Amsterdam is a 'deep' ship. But luckily the ground is also very soggy, so there is not likely to have been any damage.

In 2005 Sail Bremerhaven was held one week before SAIL Amsterdam (10-14 August) and it was decided to make that a five-yearly event as well, which will be convenient for the ships since they are already in the neighbourhod.


External links

* [ Sail 2005 website]
* [ About Sail] (another page from the same site)

ee also

*List of tall ships
*List of large sailing vessels

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