Hartlepool vessel wins leg of Tall Ships Races

The Black Diamond at Hartlepool Marina.
The Black Diamond at Hartlepool Marina.

A Hartlepool vessel stormed to victory in a leg of this year’s Tall Ships Races.

Black Diamond of Durham was victorious in the C Class category of the event’s second leg from Turku in Finland to Klaipeda in Lithuainia.

The final race was set to finish yesterday in Szczecin, Poland, with the ship and her crew due to return to Hartlepool later this month.

A five-strong crew led by skipper Calvyn Whitehand has been taking part in the popular event.

Black Diamond owner Barry Nelson, a former skipper of the vessel, has hailed the achievement.

“We managed to beat a Polish vessel called Emily to first place by 83 seconds which is quite tight considering the leg was over 350 miles,” said Mr Nelson.

“We also got a third in the first race, so we’ve got quite a bit of silverware coming back.

“It’s a massive achievement as there are vessels from the USA, the Middle East and Europe all taking part, from all over the world really.”

Award-winning Black Diamond signed up earlier this year to take part in the 2018 Tall Ships Races in Sunderland after Hartlepool put on a successful hosting in 2010.

The 45ft vessel has competed every year in the races since 1997 without fail and has twice been the winner of its class in the races, as well as of the Tall Ships Sailing Regatta at Blyth last year.

Black Diamond has also become a recognised Royal Yachting Association (RYA) training school which means it can train people on how to become an active member of the crew in everything from ropes and steering to below-deck duties - all with a RYA certificate at the end of it.

Mr Nelson added that the latest win is all the more significant with Sunderland’s hosting of the Tall Ships Races now less than 12 months away.

“Black Diamond was instrumental in getting tall ships to come to Hartlepool and we are one of the most successful vessels in the fleet,” said Mr Nelson.

“The fact that the race is taking place in the North East again next year is brilliant.”