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2023 Falmouth Tall Ships: A Spectacular Parade of Sail to Paint

  • 13 min read

Artist John Dyer - the artist in residence for Falmouth Tall Ships 2023

Above: Artist John Dyer, who is the official artist in residence for the Falmouth Tall Ships Regatta 2023

Get ready for an exhilarating four days of events in 2023 from Tuesday 15th to Friday 18th of August as the Falmouth Tall Ships Races return, showcasing a spectacular parade of sail and the breathtaking Tall Ships artwork of John Dyer. Set against the picturesque backdrop of Falmouth Bay, this thrilling event combines the magic of large sailing vessels with the art of sail training, promising an unforgettable experience for spectators and participants alike. The Tall Ships Races Magellan Elcano Falmouth. series is a celebration of an historic sailing adventure when Ferdinand Magellan and Sebastián Elcano circumnavigated the world over 500 years ago.

Book tickets for Falmouth Tall Ships.

View the Parade of Sail Map

Falmouth Tall Ships Parade of Sail Map 2023

What is it all about?

The John Dyer Gallery is an official delivery partner for Falmouth Tall Ships and artist John Dyer is the official Artist in Residence for the event. This is his fourth time as the artist in residence.

"It’s good to have John Dyer engaged and involved in Tall Ships 2023, with his colourful and playful interpretations well known and highly regarded. His depiction for this year’s occasion quite literally paints a vivid picture as to what people can expect to witness out in Falmouth Bay during the parade of sail element of the four-day event.”

Richard Wilcox, Executive Director of Falmouth Business Improvement District.

John will be painting during the Tall Ships event, so look out for him on the docks and the Tall Ships. We will be releasing his new collection of Tall Ship paintings he completes during the regatta on as soon as we can.

Register your email to be among the first to view the new paintings.

Experience the thrilling Tall Ships Races in Falmouth, with spectacular sailing ships, John Dyer’s captivating artwork and official signed print and Tall Ships collection and a range of attractions for all to enjoy!

  • Sail Training International brings people from around the world together through this event, fostering international cooperation and personal growth.

  • Overcome challenges at sea while creating inspiring international friendships.

  • The Magic & Art of the Tall Ships Races

    Above: The official print for the Falmouth Tall Ships Regatta 2023 by John Dyer. There are only 100 signed pints in the edition and they are selling now. Find out more and buy the Tall Ships print online.

    Imagine a fleet of majestic tall ships from around the world, their sails billowing in the wind as they race across the open sea. This awe-inspiring sight is the essence of the Tall Ships Races, an event that has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions since its inception in 1956. These races bring together immense sailing vessels, skilful crews, and passionate spectators from all corners of the globe, celebrating the art of sail training and fostering international cooperation.

    Organised by Sail Training International, a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting education and development through sail training, the Tall Ships Races can attract more than a hundred ships, showcasing some of the largest sailing ships. With two exhilarating racing legs and a cruise in company, the event provides a unique opportunity for young people to develop their skills and forge lasting friendships as they embark on a thrilling adventure that spans continents and unites nations. Around twelve tall ships are already confirmed for the event in Falmouth

    Origins and Evolution

    The first Tall Ships’ race was held in 1956, a vision brought to life by Bernard Morgan, a retired London solicitor who dreamt of bringing young cadets and seamen under training together from around the world to participate in a friendly competition in European waters. Initially conceived as a last farewell to the era of the great sailing ships, the event quickly evolved into something much larger and more significant.

    Today, the Tall Ships Races have grown from a friendly competition among young seamen to an exciting global event, promoting education and development through sail training and featuring a cruise in company. Sail Training International, the association founded by race organisers to energetically direct the planning of future events, has played a crucial role in transforming the races into a worldwide phenomenon, attracting participants and spectators from all walks of life and fostering a sense of camaraderie that transcends borders.

    Sail Training International

    Sail Training International is at the heart of the Tall Ships Races, ensuring that this spectacular event continues to inspire and educate young people from around the world. By organising the Tall Ships Races & Regattas, which involve sailing vessels of all sizes and ages, the organisation provides a platform for participants to learn new skills, make new friends, and gain a greater appreciation for the environment.

    One of the key components of the Tall Ships Races is the cruise in company, an opportunity for participating ships to sail together in a non-competitive leg of the race, fostering international cooperation and personal growth among participants. This spirit of camaraderie and shared adventure makes the Tall Ships Races an unforgettable experience, leaving a lasting impact on the lives of those who participate.

    Visit Falmouth: A Proud Host of the Tall Ships and their Artist in Residence John Dyer

    Artist John Dyer pictured onboard a Tall Ship in Falmouth Bay
    Above: Artist John Dyer onboard a Tall Ship in Falmouth Bay in 2014

    Falmouth, a charming coastal town on the south coast of Cornwall, UK, has a long and proud history of hosting the Tall Ships Races, with the first race being held in 1982 and the last one in 2014. After a nine-year hiatus, Falmouth will welcome these magnificent vessels again in 2023, offering a spectacular setting for the ships and providing the event’s Artist in Residence, John Dyer, with an inspiring coastal carnival to paint.

    The picturesque Falmouth Bay & Carrick Roads provides a stunning backdrop for the Tall Ships Races, with its sheltered waters and breathtaking views attracting spectators worldwide. As visitors marvel at the sight of the ships in full sail, they can also admire the vibrant and captivating artwork of John Dyer, a renowned British artist whose unique style perfectly captures the spirit of this exhilarating event.

    Past Events in Falmouth

    Falmouth has hosted the Tall Ships Races five times before, with the most recent event in 2014. John Dyer has been the artist in residence for Falmouth Tall Ships in 1998, 2008, 2014 and this year 2023. This spectacular gathering of ships from around the world drew a staggering 197,000 visitors to the town, who spent an awe-inspiring £20.9 million during the four-day festival in the local economy.

    The 2014 event showcased some of the largest Tall Ships on earth, offering visitors a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness these awe-inspiring vessels up close. With such a strong pedigree in hosting the Tall Ships Races, Falmouth eagerly looks forward to welcoming the fleet again in 2023, promising an unforgettable experience for all who attend.

    Falmouth Bay: A Special Place & Perfect Setting

    The Falmouth Tall Ships 'Parade of Sail'
    Above: The view from Pendennis Castle of the Falmouth Tall Ships 'Parade of Sail'

    Falmouth Bay is the perfect setting for the Tall Ships Races, offering ideal sailing conditions and a stunning backdrop that leaves visitors and participants alike in awe. The bay’s sheltered waters and favourable winds make it an excellent starting point for crossing the Bay of Biscay, ensuring the racing crews' exciting and challenging experience.

    Falmouth's incredible reputation for hosting races and regattas extends far beyond the Tall Ships Races, attracting sailing enthusiasts worldwide who witness the magnificent spectacle of these majestic vessels in full sail. As the ships parade through Falmouth Bay, their sails billowing against the picturesque coastline, as captured in John Dyer's official signed print for the 2023 regatta, spectators are treated to a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will live on in their memories for years to come.

    2023 Falmouth Tall Ships Races: What to Expect

    Artist Joanne Short with artist John Dyer on the docks in Falmouth exploring the Tall Ships
    Above: Artist Joanne Short with artist John Dyer on the docks in Falmouth exploring the Tall Ships

    The 2023 Falmouth Tall Ships Races, taking place from August 15-18, promise to be an event to remember, with an impressive lineup of participating ships worldwide. The racing itinerary will showcase the best of the event, providing a thrilling and challenging experience for participants and spectators alike.

    Visitors to the races can look forward to various attractions and activities in Falmouth, including exploring the tall ships, taking part in sailing adventures, and enjoying multiple family-friendly entertainment and events. With the breathtaking Tall Ships art collection from the artist in residence John Dyer available to purchase from to remember the event for years to come and the picturesque Falmouth Bay providing the perfect backdrop, the 2023 Falmouth Tall Ships Races are sure to leave a lasting impression on all who attend.

    Participating Ships

    A thrilling range of ships worldwide will eagerly participate in the 2023 Falmouth Tall Ships Races, showcasing an incredible variety of sizes, types, and nationalities. The fleet will offer a fascinating glimpse into the sailing world and the diverse vessels that navigate its waters. Some of the types of ships you can possibly see include:

    • Towering A Class square-riggers

    • Sleek racing yachts

    • Traditional schooners

    • Historic naval vessels

    • Modern cruise ships

    Get ready to be inspired by the beauty and grandeur of these magnificent ships as they sail into Falmouth for the regatta. You will see why John Dyer loves to paint them and capture the carnival spirit in his art.

    One example of a participating ship is the Cuauhtemoc, a vessel from Mexico that took part in the Tall Ships Races in 2008. With each ship bringing its unique history and character to the event, spectators will have a rare opportunity to get up close and personal with these magnificent vessels, learning about their stories and the crews that sail them.

    Racing Legs and Itinerary

    The 2023 Falmouth Tall Ships Races will consist of two exciting racing legs of several hundred nautical miles, providing a thrilling challenge for participating crews and an exhilarating spectacle for those watching from shore. Before the race begins on August 18th, the ships will form a fabulous parade of sail in Falmouth Bay, allowing spectators to get a close-up view of these stunning vessels in all their glory with their billowing sails.

    The racing itinerary will take the ships on a breathtaking journey through some of the world’s most beautiful and challenging waters, testing the skills and determination of their crews. Starting in Falmouth they sail to A Coruna in Spain. The ships then travel onwards to Portugal’s capital, Lisbon before finally finishing in Cadiz, Spain. As the fleet crosses the finish line, the sense of achievement and camaraderie among participants will be palpable, making for a truly unforgettable experience for all involved, including the race-start partner.

    Experiencing the Tall Ships Races

    Over 100,000 people gather in Falmouth and bands and sailors parade through the town
    Above: Over 100,000 people a day gather in Falmouth and bands and sailors parade through the town to celebrate the Tall Ships Regatta. Artist Joanne Short is part of RNAS Culdrose Seahawk band that is pictured here in 2014.

    There is so much more to the Tall Ships Races than the thrill of the race itself. Visitors to Falmouth during the event can enjoy a range of attractions and activities, including:

    • Exploring local sights

    • Attending special events and celebrations throughout the town

    • Buying the vibrant artwork of John Dyer that captures the essence of the Tall Ships so you can enjoy the event for a lifetime at home and maybe meeting the artist in person at the docks.

    To make the most of your Tall Ships Races experience, spectators should plan, taking advantage of helpful tips and advice on everything from:

    • The best viewing spots for the parade sail

    • Travel arrangements

    • Recommended activities and attractions

    • Local dining options

    • Parking and transportation information

    With so much to see and do, the Tall Ships Races are an event not to be missed.

    Attractions and Activities in Falmouth

    Artist John Dyer picture on a Tall Ship in 2014 with his two daughters, Wilamena on the left and Martha-Lilly on the right

    Above: Artist John Dyer pictured on a Tall Ship in 2014 with his two daughters, Wilamena Dyer on the left and Martha-Lilly Dyer on the right.

    During the Tall Ships Races, Falmouth offers a spectacular array of attractions and activities for visitors. From the exhilarating Parade of Sail to four days of celebratory shoreside events, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

    Falmouth also boasts a unique mix of cafes, restaurants, pubs, art galleries, independent shops, and a stunning coastline, providing endless opportunities for visitors to explore and enjoy the town’s charm and beauty. With recommended viewing areas such as Cliff Road, Pendennis Headland, Castle Beach, Gyllyngvase Beach, Swanpool Beach, Maenporth Beach, and Rosemullion Headland, spectators can take in the breathtaking spectacle of the races from a variety of vantage points.

    Tall Ships Art by John Dyer

    John Dyer’s artwork is an integral part of the Tall Ships Races experience, capturing the excitement and dynamism of the event with its vibrant colours and dynamic brush strokes. His unique artistic style, characterised by bold brushwork and a lively palette of blues, greens, yellows, and reds, perfectly encapsulates the spirit of the races and the excitement of the sailors and spectators alike.

    Throughout the event, Dyer’s artwork will be used on social media, in the official souvenir guide, and in daily posts from the artist himself, offering visitors a chance to admire his captivating paintings, which can all be seen on As the ships sail from Falmouth Bay, they will create a visual spectacle that the artist has already painted for the official print that will leave a lasting impression on all who witness it. The signed and numbered limited signed prints will be highly sought after as only 100 prints are being released in the edition.

    Tips for Spectators

    To ensure the best possible experience at the Tall Ships Races, spectators should:

    • Plan and book tickets in advance, as the event is expected to be hugely popular

    • Dress suitably for the weather - bring something warm as it can be windy on the docks and on the boats

    • Bring sunscreen and a hat

    • Carry a camera to capture the magical moments

    These tips are essential for making the most of the event.

    In addition, spectators should:

    • Follow any safety instructions or guidelines provided by the event organisers

    • Take advantage of any guided tours or information booths to learn more about the ships and the race

    • Immerse themselves in the festive atmosphere, soaking in the sights and sounds of this unforgettable event.

    With a little planning and preparation, spectators can enjoy a truly memorable and enjoyable Tall Ships Races experience.

    Memorable Moments from Past Tall Ships Races

    The Tall Ships Races have provided countless memorable moments over the years, including:

    • Inspiring international friendships

    • Showcasing the resilience of participants in overcoming challenges at sea

    • Shaping the lives of those who have taken part

    • Leaving a lasting impression on the countless spectators who have witnessed the spectacle of the races.

    From forming lasting friendships among participants from different countries to the incredible feats of skill and determination demonstrated by crews as they face daunting weather conditions and navigate treacherous waters, the Tall Ships Races continue to captivate and inspire all who are touched by their magic.

    Inspiring International Friendships

    The Tall Ships Races are known for fostering international friendships among sail trainers, tall ship operators, and participants. The event is designed to:

    • Excite international friendship and training for young people in the art of sailing

    • Bring together individuals from different countries and cultures

    • Promote a sense of camaraderie and understanding that transcends borders

    • Create lasting bonds

    The impact of these friendships on international cooperation and understanding cannot be overstated, with participants returning home with a newfound appreciation for their fellow sailors' diverse perspectives and experiences.

    As the Tall Ships Races continue to unite people from around the world, they serve as a powerful reminder of the power of:

    • Friendship

    • Cooperation

    • Overcoming differences

    • Achieving common goals

    Overcoming Challenges at Sea

    The view from a Tall Ship as it heads out to Falmouth Bay for the Parade of Sail
    Above: The view from a Tall Ship as it heads out to Falmouth Bay for the Parade of Sail

    Participants in the Tall Ships Races have faced a variety of exciting challenges at sea, including:

    • Daunting weather conditions

    • Tactical navigation through obstacles

    • Conquering fears such as heights

    • Tackling anxiety and seasickness

    These challenges have tested the resilience and determination of the sailors, providing valuable lessons in teamwork, adaptability, and perseverance.

    Stories of participants overcoming these challenges testify to the spirit of the Tall Ships Races and the indomitable nature of those participating. As each new race unfolds, the legacy of these experiences continues to inspire future generations of sailors, demonstrating the power of the human spirit to triumph in the face of adversity.


    The 2023 Falmouth Tall Ships Race promises to be an unforgettable event, combining the thrill of large sailing vessels, the art of sail training, and the breathtaking backdrop of Falmouth Bay. With an impressive lineup of participating ships, a rich history of hosting the event, and the captivating artwork of John Dyer, Falmouth is set to create a truly memorable experience for all who attend. As the ships sail through the waters of Falmouth Bay, their sails billowing against the picturesque coastline, spectators will be reminded of the power of friendship, cooperation, and determination at the heart of the Tall Ships Races.

    Buy John Dyer Tall Ships Art Online

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is a tall ship called?

    A tall ship is an exciting term for a traditionally-rigged sailing vessel, such as schooners, barques, barquentines, brigantines, and boats.

    What is the route of Tall Ships in 2023?

    Get ready for an unforgettable journey! Tall Ships 2023 sets sail from Den Helder, Netherlands, heading to Hartlepool, UK, on Thursday, 29 June 2023. Then it’s off to Fredrikstad, Norway, before embarking on the ‘Cruise in Company’ leg towards Shetland.

    Building upon the excitement of the Tall Ships Races 2023, this remarkable race series will grace the charming town of Falmouth from 15th to 18th August, before setting sail towards the vibrant port cities of A Coruna from 24th to 27th August, Lisbon from 31st August to 3rd September, and finally concluding its voyage in the captivating city of Cadiz from 7th to 10th September.

    What is the Tall Ships race in Europe?

    Be a part of an incredible summer event - the Tall Ships Races, organised by Sail Training International! With two exciting racing legs of several hundred nautical miles and cruise-ins between them, you can look forward to visiting ports hosting festivals with up to 1 million visitors over 3-4 days.

    What date is the Tall Ships in Falmouth?

    Get ready for an adventure of a lifetime - the tall ships are coming to Falmouth from Tuesday, August 15 to Thursday, August 18, 2023. (N.B. on the 18th the ships leave the dock so viewing of the parade of sail is the option.

    Experience the thrill of sailing on a tall ship, exploring the harbour, and participating in various activities and events. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the harbour, and join in the festivities. There will be something for everyone.

    What ships will be participating in the 2023 Falmouth Tall Ships Races?

    Get ready for a spectacular show in 2023! Sailors worldwide will compete in the Falmouth Tall Ships Races, bringing an exciting array of ships to the race.

    Some of the confirmed Tall Ships for Falmouth Tall Ships 2023 are:

    • Class A: Cuauhtemoc from Mexico

    • Class A: George Stage from Denmark

    • Class A: Dar Mlodziezy from Poland

    • Class A: Fryderyk Chopin from Poland

    • Class A: Captain Miranda from Uraguay

    • Jolie Brise from the UK

    • Maybe from the UK

    • Juan De Langara from Spain

    • Stella Polare from Italy

    • Patricia from Belgium

    • Challenge Wales from the UK

    The race will take place in the beautiful waters of Falmouth Bay, with the start and finish lines in the historic port of Falmouth.

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