How to book a Tall Ship event – A guide

November 16th, 2009 by Guy
The Batavia at Sail

The Batavia at Sail

There’s not much that is more impressive than a genuine sailing, seaworthy Tall Ship replete with a crew of real sailors brought in just for your very special event. Whether it’s for a corporate party, PR Event, or maybe a wedding reception.

But, a Tall Ship!? Where do you start? Here’s where and here’s a few tips……..

1 – Give yourself as much notice as possible

It’s all about availability first of all. One of the biggest problems we often have when we get a new enquiry for a Tall Ship is a short notice period. Even 6 months is not necessarily a long time. Tall Ships roam and they are expensive to run, like businesses they need to have their next 12 month’s and more mapped out as far as possible.  They get booked up.

Saying that, don’t despair if your event is already looming. It doesn’t mean we cant find you a ship.  We may have even have one nearby and available, just don’t wait any longer assuming you can get one next week!

2 – Be prepared to discuss a budget

You are not expected to know how much a Tall Ship costs for an event and there is certainly no clear and firm ‘price-list’ for this. It is such a subjective issue highly dependent on variables such as 1) event date, 2)  lead-time, 3) the ship’s calendar, 4) other potential business for the ship, 5) your event-needs, and 6) what’s practically possible on a sailing ship.

Points 1-4 particularly may make 100% difference or more to the final price and inevitably involve negotiation, offers, trust, and pledges of hard work on the agents behalf. That’s why an insight into how Tall Ships work commercially and a track record with them is so important.

So, we can give you a ‘ball park’ idea when you first ask the question ‘how much will it cost’? (London: £10-15k+ potentially less.) but we will always qualify this with some of the points above and will need to do some work to determine your ship and availability more accurately. We are not always able to offer instant answers but will work hard to get what you want.

3 – Try not to have ‘too-fixed’ opinions. Accept suggestions

It’s easy to get excited about the vision you may already have of that magnificent Tall Ship gliding to the quay to collect your excited guests, full sails billowing gently in the breeze. Who couldn’t be? And we cant disillusion you, Tall Ships for events are indeed amazing! But, there are ways of making them work best for you and ways of using them the wrong way. There are captains and crew to listen to and keep happy. There are maritime laws to abide by, tides to consider, safety issues to be aware of, and just as importantly, there are things that work, and things that don’t. We’ve usually discovered this through experience.  These ships are not floating hotels or conference halls, and they may not be as flexible in every way.

But…they are better than that! Topsail has more experience than anyone in the UK when it comes to Tall Ship events whether it be one-off events or large maritime festivals.  This guide is just a starter to get you started if you are considering that great impact you get with a Tall Ship. Get in touch with us if you’d like to hear more.


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