Tall Ships Regatta

Falmouth last hosted the Tall Ships race in 2008. This year, 50 beautiful vessels in full sail competed in the Falmouth to Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Regatta, the grandest occasion the town has seen for many a long year.

We went to see the ships at dock on Thursday, the first of this 4-day event. Falmouth's famous harbour (the third deepest natural harbour in the world) was host to 50 vessels from all over the globe. Thousands of people walked in the old streets to see musicians, stilt artists and entertainers - as well as the ships themselves waiting in the sunshine with their sails furled.

British, Dutch and Polish flags were seen.

These days, sailors use security harness before climbing to the tops of these enormously high masts. In past centuries, in heavy seas, many would have been lost without safety ropes.

Some of the crew of Dar Mlodziezy attending to sails.

The Polish ship Dar Mlodziezy was built in 1982. Her masts are over 62m (203ft) high.

The race began on Sunday afternoon at 4o'c. Here, looking towards the Lizard, the most southerly point of the United Kingdom, the ships are lined up for the starter's signal.

We were waiting on Nare Head, far from the Falmouth crowds, to see the Tall Ships pass. The Polish vessel soon overtook the rest, looking magnificent with all sails unfurled.

Photographs by Hugh and Christine West