Hartlepool Tall Ships Races organisers say event has been 'beyond expectations' as thoughts turn to possible return
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Tens of thousands of people have visited the four-day sailing spectacle to see the 34 ships of all sizes from all over the world.
Sunday, July 9, marks the final day of the event and began with all the ships leaving port on the morning ready for the parade of sail off the coast in the afternoon.
“I’m very proud of everyone who’s been involved in putting the whole event on from the volunteers, the sponsors, to the team at Hartlepool Borough Council.
“It’s gone beyond expectations. Last night, the Wailers were singing Everything’s Going to be Alright and they stopped and the crowd started singing, I had tears in my eyes.”
Exact numbers for the weekend are not yet known but Mrs McGuckin said “tens and tens of thousands” have visited.
The event is also set to have provided a big boost to the town’s economy.
Mrs McGuckin added: “Having seen all the restaurants on the marina bouncing every single day and night I would imagine it’s the boost we have needed coming out of Covid.
“Hotels have been fully booked and a lot of traders have been saying how wonderful it’s been.”
Asked whether the event could return to Hartlepool, Mrs McGuckin said the council would have to crunch the numbers of this year and assess things before making a decision.
“I think we would like to pursue it,” she said. “It’s a lot of hard work.
“It does involve a lot of commitment and money to actually put something like this on.”
The races’ organisers Sail Training International also hailed the event in Hartlepool as “awesome”.
Spokesperson Pauline Appleby told the Mail: “The ships have been extremely pleased with their reception and how they have been looked after here in Hartlepool.
“Lots of the crew hadn’t been here before and didn’t really know what to expect, but they have been really pleased with the facilities and the friendliness and the help they’ve had.”
The site remained very busy on Sunday with visitors enjoying all the food and drink, trade stalls and entertainment.