ONE of the UK’s most famous sailors will lead hundreds of ships down the River Itchen on Saturday.
Thousands are expected to flood to the city for a glimpse of Southampton Sailing Week’s parade of sail.
The first man to circumnavigate the globe single-handed will front the event as part of sailing week, the inaugural event celebrating the city’s maritime heritage.
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston will lead the parade in the 32-foot boat that led him to victory in the 1968 Golden Globe Race.
Sir Robin said: “I’m delighted to be a part of a sailing first for Southampton.
“Having travelled all over the world throughout my career, the Solent remains one of my favourite places to sail.
“I hope the week and Saturday’s parade will encourage more people to experience it for themselves.”
The 78-year-old is also the founder of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, which was hosted by the city in 2011 and 2012.
The race sees members of the public train and embark on racing fleets in a circuit that crosses continents around the globe, led by a professional sailor.
Organiser of the sailing week Chris Rees said: “We are absolutely thrilled that Sir Robin will be joining us for our inaugural parade of sail.
“As someone who has spent his life extolling the benefits of the sport and encouraging more people to take it up, we can’t think of anyone more aligned with our mission to get Southampton out on the water.”
The parade of sail will take place from midday on Saturday, with watercraft of all types parading from the Itchen Bridge towards the Hamble.
Sailing week begun on Wednesday and runs until May 29, with the inaugural event including races on the Solent, free dinghy sailing sessions for schoolchildren and open days at sailing clubs.