Centuries old and still sailing – "Tall ship" is the common term used for large sailing vessels with multiple tall masts, vast sails and long narrow hulls.
Poetic beauty – The term reputedly stems from "Sea-Fever", a poem written in 1902 by English Poet Laureate John Masefield. It reads: "I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky. And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by."
Golden oldies – Many of these ships have been beautifully restored and are still in use today. This is the Dutch three-masted schooner "Osterschelde" that was built in 1918 and restored in the 1990s. She still does annual around-the-world trips. Here she is sailing in Norway's Arctic archipelago Svalbard.
Fleet Week in NYC – The first major tall ship event of the year was "Fleet Week" in New York City. The event saw an international fleet of tall ships invade Manhattan's harbor, including the beautiful "ARC Gloria" from Colombia.
Dressing the part – Sailors aboard the Indonesian tall ship "Dewaruci" sail past the Statue of Liberty during Fleet Week in May 2012.
Celebrating history – The 25th annual Fleet Week celebrated the 200th anniversary of the "War of 1812" -- the three-year conflict between the burgeoning American nation and the British Empire.
Back in fashion – Rather than cargo trading or piracy, most tall ships in the world today are used for long, hands-on sailing holidays.
Hands on holidays – As such, a new tall ship travel industry has grown to satisfy the adventure-hungry sailing enthusiast with a potent sense of nostalgia.
Something old, something new – But not all tall ships are old, some are newly-built, like "Tenacious" -- a 65-meter barque (sail ship with at least three masts) that was launched in 2000. According to its owners, she is the largest wooden tall ship to be built in the UK for over 100 years and does regular around-the-world trips.
"Les Tonnerres de Brest" – Every four years, fans of traditional sailing boats from all over the world gather in the French city of Brest for the maritime festival "Les Tonnerres de Brest".
Tall ship racing – This summer will be the 20th anniversary of the festival, which always features tall ship races and regattas along the Brittany coast line.
Spectacular sights – More than 2000 boats from over 25 countries, including Mexico, Russia, Norway and Indonesia, are expected to take part during the 2012 festival in July.