Sparkling Diamond wins race

Calvin Whitehand.

Calvin Whitehand.

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A TALL ship has proved to be a diamond in Hartlepool’s crown after beating 40 other vessels from around the globe in a sailing competition.

The Black Diamond, based at the town’s marina, won first place in the Class C Tall Ships race from Waterford, in southern Ireland, to Greenock, in Scotland.

The 10-berth, 45ft boat beat an Estonian vessel by just 22 seconds and knocked a Polish ship into third place in the event that took place from Sunday through to Tuesday night.

Owner Barry Nelson said it was the ship’s first win and congratulated 29-year-old Hartlepool skipper Calvyn Whitehand, of Sheriff Street, Hartlepool, and the nine other crew members on their victory, saying they have helped put the town on the map once again.

The 63-year-old said: “This is Hartlepool’s only tall ships race competitor and has been racing for the last 15 years. This is their first, first place.

“I’m absolutely proud of the crew, it’s a fantastic result for them, for my company Sailing Northeast and for the town of Hartlepool.

“We put Hartlepool on the map last year with a second place in the tall ships races and this year again by winning. It’s good news, it really is.”

He added: “The crew will be relaxing now because apparently it was quite a tough race with 10ft waves to tackle in the Irish Sea. They’ve done brilliantly.”

The Black Diamond competed in the tall ships Class C race, which is for boats under 100ft, with a fleet of other vessels from countries around the world, including Columbia.

This was the first race for the ship, with another two in the series to follow.