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Bima Suci, the Indonesian Navy's newst and largest sail training tall ship visited Aberdeen in July last year. Image - Supplied by Port of Aberdeen.

The Tall Ships Races have set course for Aberdeen – with just 500 days until the Granite City hosts one of its most spectacular and unforgettable events in decades.

And to mark this milestone date, organisers of the world-class event have outlined more details of the free, four-day event programme and opportunities for young Sail Trainees, volunteers, businesses, and more.

The Tall Ships Races is the largest free family event in Europe and returns to Aberdeen after 28 years, expecting to draw 400,000 visitors and 50 Tall Ships from across the globe from 19th to 22nd July 2025.

The North Harbour at Port of Aberdeen, including Upper Dock and Regent Quay, will transform from an energy hub into a fantastic event space, for the Tall Ships, brought to the Granite City in a partnership between Aberdeen Inspired, the Port of Aberdeen and Aberdeen City Council.

The four-day world-famous sailing extravaganza begins on the 19th with the fleet’s arrival and opening ceremony. The city centre will buzz with more than 1,500 sailors joining the international crew parade the next day, featuring live music, dance, and theatre.

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From left to right: Bob Sanguinetti, CEO, Port of Aberdeen, Councillor Martin Greig, Aberdeen City Council, and Adrian Watson, CEO, Aberdeen Inspired at Port of Aberdeen which will be transformed from an energy hub to a world-class events space for The Tall Ships Races. Image- Supplied by Port of Aberdeen.

A grand finale of fireworks on the seafront will dazzle visiting crowds on the 21st before the ships set sail for Kristiansand, Norway, the following day. This departure will be marked by a parade of sail along the beach esplanade, offering a memorable farewell.

Throughout the festival, visitors can board the magnificent Tall Ships and enjoy free family entertainment. The big stage programme will include a diverse mix of local and Scottish talent, from sea shanties and choirs to street performers, maritime-themed exhibitions, artists, crew and navy bands, and visiting headline acts.

Adrian Watson, CEO of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “The Tall Ships Races represent a pivotal moment for Aberdeen, uniting the city in celebration and anticipation. Aberdeen Inspired is thrilled to partner in bringing this global spectacle to our doorstep, promising an unforgettable experience for visitors and residents alike.

“We know the arrival of the Tall Ships will offer a welcome major boost for our city centre businesses, including all our fantastic restaurants, bars, shops and other attractions."

Councillor Martin Greig, Aberdeen City Council, said host The Tall Ships Race is a great opportunity for everyone in Aberdeen to celebrate our maritime heritage.

He said: “The event will bring together people of all ages and backgrounds in an amazing festival of the sea. It will be a truly international experience that will make a huge impact for the good on the city and region. Preparations are well underway and much work has been planned to make sure that all can enjoy this splendid experience."

Bob Sanguinetti, CEO of Port of Aberdeen, said: “As the host location for The Tall Ships Races, we're gearing up to provide a spectacular backdrop and world-class facilities for this historic event. It's a privilege to showcase the capabilities of Port of Aberdeen and contribute to this massive opportunity for the city and its people.”

More than 100 locals aged 15 – 25 will embark on a life-changing sailing journey as sail trainees aboard a Tall Ship. Applications will open later this year for young people from all walks of life to take part in this amazing opportunity.

There is particular focus on engaging those from priority regeneration areas and funding for traineeships will be available. No experience is necessary to join this adventure that promises new freedom, friendships, skills, and unforgettable memories.

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The crew of the Bima Suci put on a great show during their visit in July last year. Image - Supplied by Port of Aberdeen.

Volunteers are essential to delivering a successful festival and giving the international crews a warm Aberdeen welcome. The inclusive, diverse, and accessible volunteer programme will have a role to suit everyone including liaison officers and spectator services, event operations and transport coordinators, and much more. Applications open later this year, with volunteers matched to roles in January 2025.

Support from the business community is key to staging the best event possible in Aberdeen and sponsorship packages are now available, offering unique exposure, engagement, and VIP experiences.

A variety of packages are available to fit any budget, from Host Port Sponsor to Trainee Funders, each contributing to a legacy event with a lasting impact on Aberdeen and beyond. Businesses can find out more about the sponsorship packages by contacting Leanne Sinclair, Sales & Sponsorship Coordinator for Mearns & Gill, at or calling 01224 646311.

More than 350 individuals and businesses have already registered their interest online to support The Tall Ships Races Aberdeen 2025 at Prospective trainees, volunteers, sponsors, commercial traders, artists, musicians, and creatives are encouraged to join online today.