Bordeaux’s Re­con­quest of the River

A look back at the first grand event or­gan­ised by Bordeaux to re­cap­ture the magic of its river: the Cutty Sark Tall Ships race of July 1990

Bordeaux J'Adore - - Contents - ✒ SUZANNE NEL­SON

For many, the re­con­quest of the ri

ver be­gan not in 2000 with the first River Fes­ti­val, but in July 1990, when the city hosted a stage in the Cutty Sark Tall Ships sail­ing race. It was a re­mark­able event be­cause the city rarely saw ships of this kind any­more. Peo­ple lined up along the shores of the es­tu­ary and gazed in won­der at the pro­ces­sion. Four­teen na­tions par­tic­i­pated, with 83 sail­boats — and 79 that raced!

From July 20-25, the ships moored in Bordeaux, with the for­eign crews host­ing tours of the boats. The mag­nif­i­cent four-mast Kruzensetern from the Soviet Union, the 92-me­ter schooner Es­mer­alda from Chile, the Sir Win­ston Churchill, and the old­est ship, the three-mast, 19th-cen­tury Belem. Of course it wasn’t just gi­ant ships that ar­rived that day — there were dozens of smaller ships — yawls, cut­ters, ketches and sloops — all unique and full of char­ac­ter.

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