Oh buoy! We’re under way with the countdown to one of the biggest events in Sunderland’s history.
From singing children to a brand new film filled with interviews with people at the centre of the spectacle - next year’s Sunderland leg of The Tall Ships Races has been heralded in style.
Yesterday marked exactly one year to go until we see the magnificent sight of 80 tall ships in port.
It will be accompanied by four days of music, arts, live events and a chance to see many of the ships close up.
But city dignitiaries are determined to get the party started now - and they did it in style with a launch ceremony in The Bridges shopping centre.
Children from East Herrington Primary Academy sang ‘How Far I’ll Go’ from the Disney film Moana which is all about travelling and how far the water will take you.
Today was about feeling proud of what we have achieved in the past few months as a tall ships teamMichelle Daurat
A short film was launched which featured local people talking about what The Tall Ships Races coming to Sunderland means to them and what it will mean for the city.
Young people taking part in next year’s Tall Ships Races shared their experiences of sail training and being a Sail Training Ambassador.
They included Brandon Barker, 18, who has been in a wheelchair since he was two. Brandon recently took part in the Tall Ships Races 2016 sailing from Cadiz to A Coruña in the specially adapted tall ship The Lord Nelson and even got to climb the main mast.
And a 1/10 scale model of HMS Venerable, the ship local hero Jack Crawford served on at the Battle of Camperdown, provided an impressive backdrop to the event.
The races are expected to attract up to 80 ships and over 1.5 million visitors when they arrive in the city for a four day visit on Wednesday, July 11, 2018.
This will culminate in a stunning Parade of Sail on Saturday, July 14, 2018, with the ships in full sail sailing northwards along the north east coastline before heading east to the race start point for Esbjerg.
Project director Michelle Daurat said: “This was about feeling proud of what we have achieved in the past few months as a Tall Ships team.
“It was about really knuckling down to the hard work and meeting the challenge that comes before us.”