In 2015, the Tall Ships docked in to Belfast Harbour for a festival in advance of the first race, starting off the north coast of Northern Ireland. Many of the ships were made available for visitors to board and look around, and some even took some trips out to sea with passengers.

Other celebrations were also in evidence, with a fireworks display on the last night of the festival and the Red Arrows providing a flyby and display as the ships made their way out of Belfast Lough to the race start.