Tall ships could be on their way back to Hartlepool

RETURN VISIT: Tall Ships and kayaks in Hartlepool Marina.
RETURN VISIT: Tall Ships and kayaks in Hartlepool Marina.

MAJESTIC tall ships could be on the way back to Hartlepool.

Bosses at Hartlepool Marina are keen to see a return of some of the vessels which last came to town five years ago, when Hartlepool hosted the last leg of the 2010 races.

The tall ships are coming back to our area and we do hope to see some old friends popping in to Hartlepool to say ‘hello’.

Allan Henderson, Hartlepool Marina

The super boost for the town could happen in 2016 when Blyth hosts the Tall Ships regatta, and in 2018 when Sunderland hosts The Tall Ships Races.

The Hartlepool Mail understands that some ships could stop at Hartlepool while they prepare to head further north to Blyth and Sunderland for their money-spinning events.

Marina director Allan Henderson has hopes that Hartlepool can welcome back some of the former visitors in the coming years.

He said: “The tall ships are coming back to our area and we do hope to see some old friends popping in to Hartlepool to say hello.”

He said the marina had issued “an open invitation” to the ships and added that Hartlepool would provide berthing to show off the town.

He said the aim was also to let ships crews come and see the town’s facilities.

If they did, it could be the first time back in town in five years for many of the ships.

The four-day Hartlepool leg of The Tall Ships Races in 2010 attracted 970,000 visitors, nearly 60 ships, and it was the largest free event held in England that year.

A survey shortly afterwards showed 99 per cent of Hartlepool residents thought the event was a good thing for Hartlepool; and 98 per cent of Hartlepool residents thought that it was good for promoting Hartlepool as a place to visit.

Statisticians surveyed visitors, local businesses and traders and estimated the event had created £26.5m for the local economy.

But Hartlepool Borough Council was left with an unexpected shortfall of £720,000. The financial black hole was blamed on a drop in expected revenue from park and ride schemes and disappointing sales of official merchandise.