Tens of thousands of people are descending onto Garry Point Park at Steveston in Richmond for the free Ships To Shore King Of The Sea Festival, with the centrepiece being the showcase of the Japanese Navy’s Kaiwo Maru – one of the world’s longest and tallest tall ships.
The 361-foot-long, 182-foot-tall training vessel arrived in Richmond on Wednesday after a two-week trip that included a mid-ocean crossing stop in Hawaii. It will be leaving Monday morning, following a similar course back to its home port in Japan, concluding its second visit to Richmond since 2004.
Built in 1989, it has four masts, 18 sails spanning an area of nearly 30,000 square feet when unfurled, and a wind sailing speed of 11 km/hr (6 knots). When its diesel engines are also used, it is capable of increasing its traveling speed to up to 20 km/hr (12 knots) within a range of 15,771 kms.
A total of 164 sailors run the ship, including 71 navigation course cadets, 35 engineering course cadets, and 58 officers and crew.
Free public boardings and tours of the Kaiwo Maru are slated during scheduled times throughout the weekend. A limited number of boarding passes will be available on site.
While impressive on its own, the festival is so much more than just the tall ship viewing.
On Saturday night at 7:45 pm, headliners Alan Doyle & The Beautiful Gypsies will take on the main stage at the park. And shortly after at 9 pm, the second day’s festivities culminate with a spectacular fireworks show in Steveston over the Fraser River.
The three-day festival, continues tomorrow with programming from both the Community Stage and Kids Cove Stage. There are also roaming performers, nearly a dozen carnival rides including a ferris wheel, pop-up demonstrations, hands-on activities, food t rucks, a maritime-themed kids area, art installations, a marketplace and displays.