With just 10 months to go to Waterford’s hosting of The Tall Ships Races 2011 which is expected to attract more than 500,000 visitors over four days next summer, the event has received a €450,000-plus boost with host port partners coming on board.


3; Bulmers Ltd and Waterford Crystal have been named as event partners while Waterford Institute of Technology are education partners and RTÉ will be the event’s official media partner. Between them, the partners will provide funding and related supports worth more than €450,000. Waterford City Council and Port of Waterford are already in place as lead delivery agencies having jointly mounted the successful bid to secure the event’s return following Waterford’s hosting in 2005.


Launched in 2005, 3 is Ireland’s fastest growing mobile provider and operate one of Ireland’s largest high speed networks. Based in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, Bulmers Ltd is a leading marketer and producer of premium drinks brands such as Bulmers Cider and beer brands including Becks and Stella Artois among others. Waterford Crystal, the global iconic brand, is now showcased in the newly opened House of Waterford Crystal, a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility and retail centre on The Mall in Waterford.


The education partner, Waterford Institute of Technology, is one of Ireland’s leading higher education institutions with more than 10,000 students and 1,000 staff. The event’s official media partner, RTÉ, is Ireland’s national public service broadcaster and has the unique capacity, across its television, radio and online services, to enable and encourage national participation in major events such as The Tall Ships Races 2011 in Waterford.


Fáilte Ireland, the national tourism development authority, is also deploying significant resources in support of the event which will cost €3m to deliver. A formal announcement will be made shortly on the scope of their input while Tourism Ireland will extensively promote the event overseas through to June 30-July 3, 2011 when the international fleet will be in Waterford.


Welcoming the strong backing announced at a reception on board the Lord Nelson sail training vessel in Waterford, Cllr Mary Roche, Mayor of Waterford, said: “To 3; Bulmers Ltd; RTÉ; Waterford Crystal and Waterford Institute of Technology, I say a very sincere ‘thank you’ on behalf of the people of Waterford and all of those from around Europe and beyond who will be here next summer for what promise to be four magical days of free fun in Ireland’s oldest city.


“The support of the event partners, education partner and media partner represent a welcome vote of confidence in Waterford’s hosting of The Tall Ships Races 2011 and is all the more appreciated in an economic climate where marketing and sponsorship spending has been hit across the board. The backing provided will augment the existing core funding in place from Waterford City Council and Port of Waterford while a positive announcement is expected shortly from Fáilte Ireland.”


Des Whelan, chairman, The Tall Ships Races 2011 (Waterford), added: “We are delighted to receive such great backing from the partners who each have strong existing ties to the southeast region. Their financial and marketing support is timely as we are now within 10 months of the Tall Ships arriving back in Waterford. The countdown is very much on to what will be Ireland’s biggest ever free quayside festival.


“The massive visitor numbers and economic impact achieved by the 2010 host ports in Belgium, Denmark, Norway and England has also served to remind us of the tremendous appeal of the Tall Ships. Delivering an event of this scale takes a major team effort. For Waterford, that team is now strengthened with the addition of our event partners 3, Bulmers Ltd and Waterford Crystal; our education partners Waterford Institute of Technology and our media partners RTÉ who are all showing real commitment in climbing on board.


“We are also continuing to see good interest from the Waterford business community in our patrons’ programme which has three tiers to suit different business sizes and sectors. We fully recognise the challenging economic climate at present and, given this, are all the more appreciative of this support. It is allowing us create a comprehensive, family-friendly festival programme featuring the very best of Irish music, food and street theatre to coincide with the Tall Ships being in port.”


Commenting on their announcement as event partners, Elaine Carey, Sales & Marketing Director at 3, said: “3 have a strong affinity to Waterford through our sponsorship of Waterford GAA and we are delighted to announce our involvement in Waterford hosting The Tall Ships Races 2011.”


Marcus Goodwin of Bulmers Ltd said: “The Tall Ships festival in Waterford is going to be one of the highlights of 2011and is a natural fit for Bulmers, both in terms of location and the live music offering.  One of our key focuses will be on the evening entertainment programme and the music that will help bring the event to life over the four days. We will also work closely with our own trade partners in Waterford and are looking forward to being a part of something very special in the southeast.”


Dr Derek O’Byrne, Registrar, Waterford Institute of Technology, said: “The Institute is very pleased to be involved as education partners for Waterford’s hosting of The Tall Ships Races 2011. We will now work closely with the host port team on delivering a first-class schools programme, hosting a Crew Party while the Tall Ships are in port, accommodating some of the personnel who will work at the event and leading the economic impact study that will measure the event’s financial value regionally and nationally.”


When they leave Waterford after the spectacular Parade of Sail along the Suir Estuary on July 3, 2011, the Tall Ships will race around Ireland’s south, west and north coasts to Greenock, Scotland. Later, there will be a cruise-in-company from Greenock to Lerwick in the Shetland Isles. The second race in the series will then go from Lerwick to Stavanger, Norway from where the third and final race will bring the fleet to Halmstad, Sweden.