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Tall Ships Race 2019 - Sydney Harbour

Home > Sydney > Australia Day | Boating | Community Events | Outdoor
by Sue W (subscribe)
Lover of exploring, family, food and fun!
Get a good vantage point for the tall ships spectacular
Do you love watching the Tall Ships sail majestically through Sydney Harbour? It is a special sight to see, as they glide through the water together as they would have done more than 100 years ago. On Australia Day, Saturday 26th January, an impressive fleet of historic and charter vessels will once again be together on the harbour - this time racing against each other from Bradleys Head across the water in a race to finish first under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The race will start at 1pm and it is expected to finish at 1:30pm, with the first across the line to win to coveted Tall Ships Trophy.

According to the NSW Government events website, the best places to view the finish line of the race are at Bradfield Park under the bridge, Blues Point, Hickson Road Reserve, the Overseas Passenger Terminal and the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House. Enjoy the spectacle and also prepare yourself (and the kids) for canons to boom!

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It's a race to the finish line! Image: Tall Ship James Craig Facebook

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Prepare yourself for the canons! Image: Tall Ship James Craig Facebook

Be on Board

If watching the race from afar isn't enough, you can be part of the action on board one of the tall ships. Book a ticket and take your place on 1874 Tall Ship James Craig, which boards at 9.45am at Pyrmont and cruises Sydney Harbour until the 1pm race. Sail on board this historical, three-masted, iron-hulled barque, as it cuts its way through the blue waters of Sydney Harbour. Feel the excitement as you sail towards the finish line and be part of the celebrations if you win!

After the race, this impressive tall ship will then drop off its passengers at the Overseas Passenger Terminal at 2pm. The cost is $130 for adult, $117 for members/concession, $50 for children and $310 for a family (2 adults and 2 children). Alternatively, if you are looking for something cheaper, you could go out on the afternoon cruise for just $20! See here for details.

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Be part of the race and view spectacular scenery along the way. Image: Tall Ship James Craig Facebook

A Quick History

The Tall Ship James Craig (below) was built in England in 1874 and began its career as a cargo ship - rounding Cape Horn 23 times in 26 years. It then operated between Australia and New Zealand in the early 1900's, before steamboats became a more popular mode of transport and the James Craig was sunk in 1932 - sadly reaching the end of its early career. The wreck was then resurfaced and lovingly restored in 1972, much to the delight of Sydney-siders and historians. It cost $30 million dollars and took nearly 40 years to complete, but it is the sparkling jewel of Sydney Harbour today. See here for a full history.

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History and character embedded in every board and plank. Image: Tall Ship James Craig Facebook

Tall Ships Festival

If you would like to walk around the James Craig and other ships after the race, head on over to the Overseas Passenger Terminal and step on board to explore historic ships between 2pm - 4pm. The cost is just a gold coin entry, with all money raised going back to the restoration and upkeep of the Sydney Heritage Fleet. See here for details.

Walk on board the ships and appreciate the restoration. Image: Tall Ship James Craig Facebook

Australia Day is a huge day of events and activities around the harbour, with much of the action happening on the water itself. As well as the Tall Ships Race at 1pm, there will also be an assortment of decorated boats on the harbour, a ferry race, an Australia Day Parade of boats and much more - see here for the full program. If you miss out on the chance to be part of the Tall Ship Race, the fleet of boats also have morning and afternoon cruises to enjoy being out on the harbour, this Australia Day.

One thing is for sure, the Tall Ship Race, in particular, will be full of action, laughs, humour and some good ol' Australian rivalry - and you can't get much more Aussie than that!

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Celebrate around the harbour this Australia Day. Image: Sydney Heritage Fleet Facebook
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Why? Enjoy the spectacle on the harbour & celebrate Australia Day
When: 1pm - 1:30pm
Where: The race will begin at Bradley's Head and finish at the Sydney Harbour Bridge
Cost: Free to watch
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