Hartlepool Tall Ships 2023 organisers give update into what is shaping up to be the 'biggest free event of 2023'

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More than 30 ships from all over the world are already committed to sailing into Hartlepool this summer as planning for the Tall Ships event gathers pace.

Organisers are working hard behind the scenes to make sure everything is shipshape when we play host to the world-famous event.

Taking place from July 6-9, it is due to be one of the biggest free events anywhere in the country.

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So far, 32 race vessels of all shapes and sizes have been confirmed.

Catherine Honey, Hartlepool Borough Council’s Tall Ships event director, said: “Eleven of those are the really big class A ships.

“We would like some more military ships to attend and are working quite closely with the National Museum of the Royal Navy.”

The team is also talking to three South American ships, which would need to set sail by April to get here on time.

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Organisers have also hailed the “amazing” response from volunteers with over 200 offering to help so far.

They include ship liaison officers who will make sure crews have a brilliant time while in Hartlepool.

“The response has been amazing and it just shows how passionate and proud everyone in Hartlepool is for this event,” added Catherine.

People can still apply, and young people aged 15-25 can sign up to be sail trainees in a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to be an active part of a ship’s crew.

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Catherine said: “We would like to get as many as possible. The ships need the trainees to actually sail.”

Trainees can sail from Den Helder, in Holland, to Hartlepool or from Hartlepool to Fredrikstad, in Norway.

Organisers are also putting together a programme of free entertainment for the thousands of visitors expected.

The whole Tall Ships site will be one big loop and feature two music stages.

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“There will be lots of creative entertainment available,” said Catherine.

“It’s probably one of the biggest free events that will take place in 2023.”

The economic boost is also expected to be “significant”.

Catherine said: “There’s always a lot of competition to become a host port, so for Hartlepool, such a small town, to have put a bid in and win it is huge.”

To find out how you can get involved, visit www.tallshipshartlepool2023.co.uk