A golden milestone has been reached as Sunderland gets ready to host The Tall Ships Races.
More than 50 ships have now been signed up to come to Wearside from Wednesday, July 11, to Saturday, July 14. And after reaching the 50 mark, the number has since increased further to 53 vessels.
The latest additions include the class A TS Royalist which stands 79ft tall and 76ft long. The brig sails out of Portsmouth and is described as an ideal ship for young people wanting to master the art of sailing.
Also on the way are;
l The three-masted Bulgarian class A barquentine Royal Helena. She is 106ft tall and 146ft long.
l The Norwegian tall ship Froya which used to be a sail-power fishing vessel. Now, the 76-year-old ship is a gaff schooner with a permanent crew of five and can take 15 sail trainees.
This year, she celebrates 40 years since she was rebuilt as a sailing vessel.
l The class D cutter Dasher which provides sail training for all the UK Armed Forces. It’s aim is to develop the character and leadership qualities essential to members of the Armed Forces through offshore sailing.
During this year’s Tall Ships Races, she will have a skipper and 10 crew comprising of officers and soldiers - and half of them aged under 25.
l The Polish ship STS General Zaruski which was reconstructed six years ago after first being built in 1939. She is a gaff ketch from Gdansk.
l The class C ketch Sila Sibiri from Russia which has been entered into the races by Siberian Sailing Expeditions and is seven years old.
The ships coming to Sunderland are from 16 different nations. Crowds of 1.5million visitors are expected over the four-day event.
Sunderland will be the first leg of the 2018 races.
Once the fleet leaves on Saturday, July 14, it will race to Esbjerg, in Denmark, where it will stay from July 18 to July 21. Then the ships will sail the Cruise in Company leg to Stavanger, in Norway, for a stay from July 26 to July 29. The last port is Harlingen, in Holland, and the ships will be there from August 3 to August 6.
To find out more, visit www.tallshipssunderland.com.