The preparations are ramping up for the Sunderland leg of this year’s Tall Ships Races.
Organisers have revealed more detail of the activities to expect when the Wearside event gets into full swing from Wednesday, July 11 to Saturday, July 14.
The Echo first reported on many of the highlights last week and here’s some more of a flavour in a factfile form of what to expect.
WHEN DOES IT ALL START?
l Officially, the races arrive in Sunderland on Wednesday, July 11 but watch out for ships coming to Wearside early – perhaps on the Tuesday, July 10, and possibly the Monday, July 9 as well.
l All the ships have to be in port by 12pm on July 11.
WHAT ARE THE BIG ATTRACTIONS?
l The fantastic crew parade – one of the big highlights – will have a carnival feel, say the organisers. It starts at 3pm on Thursday, July 12, and lasts around 90 minutes.
l Watch out for fireworks on the nights of July 11, 12 and 13 – and the display on the 13th accompanies a spectacular night of performances on and around the River Wear.
l On Saturday, July 14, it’s time to say goodbye to the crews as they get ready for the Parade of Sail and the first leg of the races. You can watch the ships leaving their berths on the river and in the Port of Sunderland from 1.30pm to 5pm.
l Then comes the Parade of Sail itself on July 14. It lasts from 5.30pm to 7pm. The ships will travel up the coast to Souter Point, before turning around and heading out to the North Sea.
l After that, it’s the actual Tall Ships Races which will start at 8pm on Saturday, July 14. It will start 4.8 nautical miles east of Roker lighthouse.
IS SUNDERLAND REPRESENTED IN THE RACES?
l Sunderland will have a strong representation of crewmates in the races. There will be 150 trainees from Wearside and they will join their ships on Friday, July 13. * Organisers are expected 1,000 crew to visit Sunderland.
WHO WILL LOOK AFTER THE CREWS WHILE THEY ARE HERE?
l Everyone has heard of the Games Makers who helped to make the London Olympics such a great success. Well, Sunderland will have its own ‘Event Makers’.
There’s 240 of them and they will be helping with everything from customer service, to supporting the media. Others will look after the ships’ crews.
l Two worthy causes have been chosen as the official charities in connection with the Sunderland leg of the races. They are Sunderland Maritime Heritage and the RNLI.
l Sunderland is the 14th UK port to host a leg of the races.
Next week – a closer look at the travel arrangements.