SAIL Amsterdam: the biggest nautical event in Europe

In case you didn’t know, SAIL Amsterdam happened last week and it was crazy! Five days, over 600 boats, once every five years, that was the greatest nautical event of the year.

When I first heard of SAIL a couple of months ago, I didn’t get what the fuss was all about. I just thought there would be a couple of nice ships to look at, but I was far from imagining this:


Sail Amsterdam
Yes, that many boats. (©Gabrielle Dauby)

I knew SAIL happens only every five years, and when I planned 2,5 hours to go see the tall ships, I thought it was more than enough. How wrong was I. On Saturday afternoon, it took me 45 minutes to reach the first ships… Eventually I only saw a third of all the ships, but what a sight! 44 tall ships coming from all around the world, all here in Amsterdam. I felt like I was in a historical documentary – some of them even looked like pirate ships!

A couple of hours weren’t enough on Saturday so I decided to go back on Sunday, and I was lucky to see the farewell parade. The ARC Gloria from Columbia was probably the most impressive one (from the ships I saw) because some crew members were standing on the mast, wearing colourful jumpers and waiving flowers while leaving the harbour. That was absolutely amazing!

My only regret would be that I wasn’t on a boat and that I didn’t take advantage of all the activities that were organised during these five days. Well, who knows, I might come back in 5 years!

Click on a photo to launch the slideshow.



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