Sunderland has been chosen as one of the five home ports for the prestigious Tall Ships Race in 2018.
The Tall Ships Race is a gathering of more than a hundred mono-hull sailing vessels along with thousands of spectators from all over the world.
Sail Training International, who organises the event, says the race helps young people benefit from the sail training experience as the race mandates that at least 50 per cent of the crew are aged between 15 and 25 years old.
Paul Bishop, head of the Race Directorate at Sail Training International, added: “There are a myriad of factors that need to be considered when selecting ports and planning a Tall Ships Race series and many people are brought into the process to bring in their expertise, knowledge and judgement.
“Planning for a new race series starts four years in advance and we are delighted with the Board of Directors choice of ports for 2018, which we are confident will all deliver high quality events with excellent support for sail training.”
Coun Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “This is a great event for everyone to experience and enjoy our river. There are going to be many opportunities for young people in terms of volunteering, developing new skills and making new friends during the event.
Sunderland was once the largest shipbuilding town in the world. Over recent years its seafront and riverside have undergone extensive award winning regeneration works and is fast becoming a vibrant, bustling location for families to enjoy time together by the water.
Coun Harry Trueman, deputy leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “This goes to show that we continue to gain hard-earned recognition as a great city to hold events.
“I am sure both residents and visitors enjoy this festival of sailing and take pride in our significant contribution to the history of ship design and building.”
The event is expected to build on other major developments in Sunderland. By the end of this year there will be a new public space at the heart of the city centre, complete with lighting and public realm pieces specially commissioned to celebrate Sunderland’s shipbuilding heritage.#####