© Sunderland Maritime Heritage,  registered charity in England and Wales (1089465)

The first Tall Ships race was held in 1956. It was a race of 20 of the world's remaining large sailing ships organized by Bernard Morgan, a London lawyer. The race was from Torquay, Devon to Lisbon, and was meant to be a last farewell to the era of the great sailing ships. Public interest was so intense, however, that race organisers founded the Sail Training International association to direct the planning of future events. Since then The Tall Ships Races have occurred annually, with millions of spectators. Today, the race attracts more than a hundred ships, among these some of the largest sailing ships in existence. The 50th Anniversary Tall Ships Races took place during July and August, 2006, and was started by the patron, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who also started the first race in 1956.