SAIL's ships come in as festival begins

17th August 2005, Comments 0 comments

17 August 2005, AMSTERDAM — Although his flagship ran aground briefly while he was steering, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander performed the opening ceremony for SAIL 2005 on schedule on Wednesday.

17 August 2005

AMSTERDAM — Although his flagship ran aground briefly while he was steering, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander performed the opening ceremony for SAIL 2005 on schedule on Wednesday.

Thousands of spectators lined the shore as the Clipper 'Stad Amsterdam', with the prince and Mayor Job Cohen on board, arrived in Amsterdam from IJmuiden at 1.45.

It had set out at the head of a 600-strong fleet of Tall Ships and other vessels from IJmuiden at 11am. Tug boats were needed when 'Stad Amsterdam' got stuck briefly in the IJ River. Willem-Alexander was steering the clipper at the time.

Stad Amsterdam was meant to be the first to arrive at the SAIL terrain near Amsterdam's Central Station, but the Norwegian 'Statsraad Lehmkuh' got in first.

The last vessels in the parade were expected to reach Amsterdam by 6pm on Wednesday.

Despite some hiccups, thousands of people travelled by train to Amsterdam to view the arrival of the "SAIL IN" parade.

A derailment damaged tracks at Amsterdam Central Station on Monday raising concerns Dutch rail NS would have difficulty transporting the public to the start of the event. Only two of the lines on the west side of the station are operational.

But NS said on Wednesday afternoon the transport of passengers was going well despite the reduced capacity and the large number of visitors for SAIL.

Starting at 6.10am on Wednesday, a shuttle train service began running every 15 minutes from Amsterdam Central Station to Sloterdijk. Shuttle buses are also operating between the two stations for passengers travelling to and from Noord Holland province.

But by midday the shuttle train service was reduced from four to two trains an hour due to a technical problem.

The "SAIL IN" parade marks the beginning of the six-day maritime festival, one of the biggest of its kind in the world.

Meanwhile, traffic jams were reported on all highways leading to Amsterdam on Wednesday morning ass motorists headed to the capital and IJmuiden for SAIL.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news, SAIL 2005

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