Hartlepool Marina’s invitation ahead of the Tall Ships Races this summer

The tall ships at Hartlepool Marina in 2010.
The tall ships at Hartlepool Marina in 2010.

An open letter has been sent to the captains of this summer’s Tall Ships Races vessels - telling them ‘you’re welcome to call in on Hartlepool’.

All of the skippers in this year’s event have received an invitation to stop at Hartlepool Marina on their way north.

The Tall Ships in 2010 brought in the crowds to Hartlepool.

The Tall Ships in 2010 brought in the crowds to Hartlepool.

This year’s Tall Ships Races include a first leg which is being held in Sunderland, and marina officials hope that could be good news for Hartlepool.

Marina director Adam Henderson said: “Some boats choose to stock up on fuel and water supplies where it is quieter.

“We could be blessed with a visit on the way to an event.

“I have written to all the captains to re-confirm that the invitation still stands and it embraces the hospitality from 2010.”

Hartlepool would be restricted by the size of its marina lock gates on which ships it could accept.

But Adam added: “It would be interesting if the captains could include us.

“We have always been able to give a warm open arms welcome to any tall ship that decides to stay overnight in Hartlepool when they head to big events.”

Hartlepool hosted its own leg of The Tall Ships Races in 2010. The free event was organised by Hartlepool Borough Council, PD Ports and Hartlepool Marina.

The four-day spectacle saw almost one million people visit the town for what was the biggest free event in the UK that year.

It saw nearly 60 ships come to town.

A survey shortly afterwards showed 99% of Hartlepool residents thought the event was a good thing for Hartlepool; and 98% 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 which was £10m more than original predictions.

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.