Maritime Days breathe new life into Tallinn’s waters

The four-masted sailing ship – the pride of the fleet attending the Maritime Days – drew crowds from Tallinn and beyond, with people queuing from dawn till dusk to view the vessel. The ship's two captains said they were amazed at the warm welcome given to and interest in the Krusenstern, which was so great that its 'opening hours' were extended on each day of the festival. A total of 18,000 people boarded the ship over the three days. Its captains say that a return to its former home port in future cannot be ruled out.

A number of competitive events also came to a close during the festival. Sunday 17 July saw the 54th Muhu Strait Regatta, the third stage of Estonia's open water cup, held in Tallinn. The most popular event of its kind since Estonia regained its independence, with almost 700 sailors taking to the water in 109 vessels from Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia, it saw the competitors covering the distance from Pärnu to Tallinn via Roomassaare, Virtsu and Heltermaa in the week leading up to the finale. Estonian champion in the ORC1 group was the Kalev Yachting Club's Premium-Tallinn 2011 Sailing Team led by Priit Tammemägi and his crew. The results of the regatta are available online at www.muhuvain.ee/tulemused.

The Tallinn Race regatta organised especially for the Maritime Days crowned the Kuusakoski team of Joonas Lindahl and Joel Tykkyläinen (Finland, 49er class), the Sydney team of Georg Haud and Jaan Erik Pihel (Estonia, RS Feva class) and Hardi Anton (Estonia, optimist class) as its winners.

The most well-attended concerts at the festival were those of Tanel Padar & The Sun with the Youth Symphony Orchestra on the Friday; Lenna Kuurmaa's concert celebrating the rescue of the Estonian cyclists kidnapped in Lebanon and the Svjata Vatra concert on the Saturday; and the Italian mask theatre Pantankini parade and performance and the Ewert & The Two Dragons and Tõnis Mägi concerts on the Sunday. The jazz concerts held on the Friday and Saturday nights also played to full houses; both Saturday sunrise trips on Tallinn Bay on the Kajsamoor were fully manned; and Helena Tulve performed Salt to a full hangar on the Friday and Saturday. The crowds also enjoyed the seaside excursions, Mutant Disco and performances by the sailing boat shadow theatre.

The festival was attended by 100 000 people and the organisers are in little doubt that this year's Maritime Days were the most popular and successful ever. Head of the organising team and Tallinn Vice Mayor Taavi Aas said that the three-day festival more than fulfilled its aim of opening Tallinn up to the sea once again. "I'm really pleased that we've been able to help people find their way back to the waterfront, right here in the heart of the city," he said. "For my part I'd like to thank everyone who contributed – not just the organisers and our partners and sponsors, but the people who came along as well. The event simply wouldn't have been as good as it was without all of them playing their parts."

The police and ambulance service confirmed that no major incidents were recorded at the festival. Any 'lost and found' enquiries should be directed to the Tallinn 2011 – European Capital of Culture information centre at Rotermanni 5/Roseni 10.