Tall Ships Fes­ti­val makes a rare sight

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

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.

Photo: LAWRENCE SMITH

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.

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