Monday, August 22, 2005

SAIL 2005 Amsterdam

SAIL 2005 happens every 5 years in the IJ harbor of Amsterdam, strategically situated right at the back of the Amsterdam Central station.

The big event was opened last 17 August with a dramatic “sail in” of the participating ships led by the city’s flagship, the Clipper Stad Amsterdam, with the prince of the Netherlands [Prince Willem Alexander] enthusiastically navigating on its wheels.

The parade was received by tens of thousands of eager spectators along the coast harbor and by a myriad of striking boats floating in the IJ haven. An equally impressive gun salute with the use of an old canon was executed to welcome the boats into the haven.

So full on a Sunday, the last day of the event… and this is even before reaching the IJ Harbor! (IJ is pronounced as “eye”)

The SAIL 2005 is a 5 day event in Amsterdam and is known to be the city’s 2nd largest event after the yearly Queens Day on the 30th of April.

During the 5 day affair, one can expect an array of multicultural, youth and nautical programs. Music is on the air, beer and wine spirits on the loose and everyone is in the party mood. A variety of rich international cuisines on display are also available at your fingertips. I even saw a lechon [grilled suckling pig]!

My 3 favorite boats during the event:

The Prins Willem VOC ship from Den Helder, Netherlands. A replica of the largest Dutch East Indie ship dating back to 1651.

This boat is a kids dream. When I had a good look at it, I felt the ship came to life, like it just jumped out of a pirate fairy tale book!

Dazed, I tried to pinch myself to take me out of the fantasy bubble world and bring me back to reality. It is simply amazing!

The beautiful Amerigo Vespucci ship comes from Italy.

It looked so romantic, very regal and darn luxurious from the outside...

This ship actually reminds me of the heartbreaking movie, The Titanic.

There were many foreign ships and boats that joined the event. From the tall ships alone, participants came from Poland, Russia, Turkey, UK, Bulgaria, Indonesia, Romania, Germany, Portugal, India, Norway, Ukraine, Belgium, Oman, France, Ireland, Lithuania and Spain.

The SailTrain of NS [Nationale Spoorwegen], the Dutch National Railways.
I could not believe my eyes. The NS train sailing in the Amsterdam haven?! I had to laugh! Now, that was really a good act, hehe.

Last Sunday evening at exactly 22:00 hours the event had its last hurrah of lights and fireworks.

Today Monday, 22nd of August, the ships are expected to bid their farewell during the “sail out” parade as they exit the IJ haven and go home to their respective countries.

And this is my most favorite candid photo that Dutchman took.

Russian boys in their navy blue suits chatting while aboard the MIR ship.
Best of all, the SAIL 2005 event is FREE for all, and FREE entrance too to all the large tall ships participating in the exhibition. Indeed, a treat for the ship hobbyist!

For more pictures of these beautiful ships and the successful event, click here in My DUTCH TRAVEL Photo Album. Enjoy them as you please. [grins]

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