Children and adults of all ages are being urged to climb aboard for a world record bid in Waterford on July 1 when it’s hoped to have more than 6,000 costumed pirates on the city’s quays to coincide with The Tall Ships Races 2011.

The pirates will assemble at 9.30am on Friday, July 1 in the Bolton St car-park that will be in use as a concert venue for each evening that the Tall Ships are in Waterford. The pirates will be counted as they enter the site.

To be counted in towards the world record bid, the pirates will need to wear a white or striped shirt or t-shirt; a pair of short or rolled up trousers; a pirate scarf or hat. Free eye patches and Britvic-sponsored badges will be distributed to all participants before the pirates leave Bolton St to parade towards the Quay and ‘plunder’ the visiting Tall Ships.

The parade promises to be a noisy affair with Kolbotn-Garden, a 40-piece Norwegian band joining a sea shanty group and the assembled pirates. Beat 102-103’s ‘Beat Fleet’ will also be involved in the record bid and the parade of pirates.

The current record of 6,166 pirates assembled at a single location was set in Sussex, England last year. Waterford’s maritime history includes several episodes with pirates, perhaps most infamously, Thomas Stukeley, the 16th Century pirate blamed for stealing a bronze cannon from a small fort in front of Reginald’s Tower.

Looking ahead to the record bid, Olivia O’Reilly, Project Manager, The Tall Ships Races 2011 (Waterford) said: “This promises to be a really fun event. While the strongest appeal may be to children, we’re very much encouraging parents and all adults to join in the spirit of the morning and get decked out as pirates. It would be great to break the record but in any case, we’re sure to have the friendliest pirates and it promises to be an enjoyable part of the programme of activities coinciding with the Tall Ships visit.”

Meanwhile, one of the Tall Ships due in Waterford is taking an innovative approach to capturing the sail training experience with an artist-in-residence programme. Swan – a restored sailing herring drifter built in Lerwick, Shetland in 1900 – will have contemporary artist ImiMaufe sailing and working aboard the vessel throughout the race series. While in Waterford, the artist will interact with the crews of other visiting Tall Ships as well as some of the 500,000 visitors expected in Waterford and on the Suir Estuary over the four days from June 30-July 3.

After two years of preparations involving an estimated 13,760 hours of voluntary effort, Waterford successfully hosted The Tall Ships Races 2011 from June 30-July 3.
It’s estimated that 500,000 people enjoyed the spectacle in the city and along the Suir Estuary. To all those individuals and organisations that made this huge international event possible and to the people of Waterford who embraced the occasion brilliantly – thank you. To those who visited Waterford, we look forward to welcoming you back soon and invite you to visit to keep up-to-date on what’s happening in Ireland’s oldest city. To the sail training family at the heart of The Tall Ships Races, we look forward to your return!

Here we showcase a small selection of Dylan Vaughan’s photography from four magical days.