Sail Training International and the City of Turku will organise The Culture 2011 Tall Ships Regatta in the Baltic Sea to pay tribute to the Turku Capital of Culture year.

The event will start at Klaipeda in Lithuania, from where the ships will sail to Turku. From Finland, the vessels will continue to Gdynia in Poland, which is the final port of the competition. In the past, Turku has hosted the event in 1996, 2003, and 2009. Each time the event has gathered hundreds of thousands of satisfied visitors from around the country.

The event is one of the highlights of the Turku Capital of Culture year. In the Aura River, one can see, for example, the largest sailing vessel in the world, the four-masted barque Sedov (Russia, 122 m), and the second largest vessel, four-masted barque Kruzenshtern (Russia, 113 m). In addition, there will be the sibling vessels Mir (Russia, 109 m) and Dar Mlodziezy (Poland, 109 m). The frigate Shtandart (Russia, 35 m) will also participate in the event. The vessel is a copy of a frigate in Peter the Great's fleet from 1703.

Both bands from Turku and nationally known artists will step onto the stage on board the Swan of Finland. The public will be entertained by such bands as Magenta Skycode, The Grammers and Eurooppa 3. The bug orchestra Sikakoira Moilanen and Mimi and Kuku will perform to the children. Friday night will culminate in fireworks.

MILjazz organised by the armed forces and its fantastic artists will entertain the public on Saturday starting at 5 p.m. There are, e.g.  the Conscript Band of the Finnish Defence Forces, with soloist Jussu Pöyhönen (Suurlähettiläät), the Navy Band with soloist Emma Salokoski, and the Air Force Big Band with soloist Lenni-Kalle Taipale. Concerts at Varvintori tent, e.g. by Turku Swing Company with soloist Milana Misic.

Free entrance to the area

The Tall Ship Regatta event area begins from Martinsilta bridge on both sides of the Aura River, and reaches all the way to the Viking Line terminal on the west bank and on the east side to the former Wärtsilä shipyard. Entrance to the area takes place through temporary gates. The normal street network is in use, no side streets will be closed to passenger traffic. There is free entrance to the entire area. Access to the vessels is also primarily free.

Information point and lost property

The common information point is located at the Forum Marinum field. There is also a lost and found point in the same place.

Turku Touring tourist information centre

Forum Marinum field, open Fri-Sat 26  – 27 August 10 am – 6 pm, Sun 28 August 10 am – 3 pm.

Traffic restrictions

Läntinen Rantakatu street is closed to traffic between Martinsilta bridge – Forum Marinum with the exception of access to residents and maintenance. Itäinen Rantakatu becomes a one-way street from Merimiehenkatu to Martinsilta bridge so that turning from Martinsilta bridge to Rantakatu street is forbidden.

Parking during the event

Parking will take place in car parks and parking garages. There will be no extra parking areas!

Extra buses

There will be extra buses on line 1 between the market square and the harbour. The buses will run starting from 12 pm on Thu 25 August, until Sun 28 August 2 pm about every 10 minutes. The route of line 1 goes from the market square stop T35 along Linnankatu street to the harbour, so it will be easy to access the river bank by bus. On Sunday 28 August there will be extra buses to Ruissalo on line 8. More information at www.turku.fi/buses

Bicycle parks

Bicycles should be left in bicycle parks, available by the Martinsilta bridge and on the corner of Itäinen Pitkäkatu and Tervahovinkatu street on the east side of the river, and on the west side, at the Martinsilta bridge side of Barker park.

Extra taxi stand

An extra taxi stand will serve the west side of the river on the corner of Linnankatu and Fleminginkatu streets.

Boat traffic on the Aura River

The Aura River will be open to boat traffic as normal during the event with the exception of the start-off of the ships on Sunday 28 August, when the river will be closed to public traffic starting 1:30 pm between Föri city ferry – Aura River mouth. All vessels heading for the sea must have exited the river by 1:30 pm!

Extended Föri city ferry working hours

Föri will operate on Friday 26 August and Saturday 27 August until 0:30 am.

Extra vessel for crossing the river

In addition to Föri, the Ruissalo ferry will take passengers across the river. The vessel will travel from a pontoon behind the Swan of Finland straight across the river to the former Wärtsilä shipyard area. It can accommodate 75 passengers at a time. The crossing is free of charge.

The Ruissalo ferry will operate non-stop Thu 25 August 4 pm – 0 am, Fri 26 August 2 pm – 0 am, Sat 27 August 2 pm – 0 am, Sun 28 August 10 am – 1 pm.

Guest Marina open as normal

The Turku Guest Marina will be serving boaters as normal. Further information: +358 (0)2 230 9194, +358 (0)50 053 1787.

Parade of Sails – Airisto on 28 August starting 2 pm

The unberthing of the vessels will start on Sunday 28 August at 2 pm, and the Parade of Sails can be seen at Airisto at about 2:30 pm – 5 pm. From Airisto the vessels will head towards Utö island. The competition start to Gdynia will start before noon on Monday 29 August near Utö.

Kansanpuisto park viewing area on Sunday 28 August

There have traditionally been a lot of people in the Ruissalo Kansanpuisto Park watching the departing vessels. There has now been more emphasis placed on the services of the area. The park restaurant will be open with its extended licensed service area. Coffee and refreshments will be sold on the beach. There will also be extra toilet facilities.