Tall Ships Festival makes a rare sight
Thousands of people flocked to the waterfront for the first Tall Ships Festival and some have now been swept off on a voyage of a lifetime.
Historic ships from the first-ever trans-Tasman Tall Ships race sailed into Auckland Harbour for the festival during Labour weekend.
Organisers say 151,000 people visited Hobson, Princes and Queens wharves where the tall ships were moored and thousands hopped aboard to view them.
It was a rare sight for Aucklanders, Tall Ships Festival director John Lister says.
‘‘My long held dream came true last Friday when I saw those Tall Ships sail up the Waitemata.’’
The British accessible tall ship Lord Nelson set sail for Wellington on the first of her four voyages in New Zealand on Monday with nine Kiwis on board.
One of the group, Laszlo Nemes, knew nothing about Lord Nelson or even the festival a few days ago.
The 75-year-old arrived in Auckland on the ferry from his home in Devonport on Saturday to buy salad seedlings.
Mr Nemes has never sailed before so he decided to look around the 55-metre tall ship.
With just four places left to be part of the 41-strong crew on the ship’s voyage from Queens Wharf to Wellington, the retired scientist couldn’t resist. ‘‘I knew immediately that I had to do it.’’
He joined the ship the following day and climbed one of Lord Nelson’s masts as part of the voyage crew training.
The ship will arrive in Wellington on November 5.
Beautiful craft: Thousands took the opportunity to get aboard the rare ships.
Tall ships: Sailing enthusiasts line the Auckland waterfront to welcome the crews of the historic ships from the first-ever trans-Tasman Tall Ships race.
Dry land: Tall Ships crew members marched through downtown Auckland.