Hundreds of ships and thousands of people are set to descend on Southampton to mark the first ever sailing week.
Treasure hunts, racing days and a parade of sail will all feature as Southampton celebrates its maritime history.
Beginning on Wednesday, more than 50 events will run until May 29 to mark the success of Southampton and Solent waters.
Partnered with Southampton City Council, Hampshire Chamber of Commerce and the ABP Marathon, organiser Chris Rees, of Rees Leisure, said it was ‘only right’ that the city had a dedicated sailing event.
He said: “Southampton sits on one of the best stretches of water in the UK for sail racing, so it’s only right that it has its own celebration of sailing. Sadly, despite this fantastic resource being on our doorstep, many people in the city have never had a chance to get out on the water.
“There’ll be plenty of opportunities for people to try their hand at everything from paddle boarding to dinghy sailing and, for the more seasoned sailors, there’ll be plenty of races to take part in daily.”
One the main events through the week will see around 100 boats parade down Southampton water in celebration of the week.
The inaugural parade of sail on Saturday will feature kayaks, RIBs and sailing yachts being led by a tug shooting plumes of water through the air from noon, with community members being invited to join the parade on their boats.
The event is also being backed by partner MDL Marinas, with its facilities in Hamble and Hythe taking part.
Adrien Burnand, head of marketing said: “It will be a fantastic occasion to bring together sailing enthusiasts and those who are new to the sport. We would encourage anyone visiting or taking part in the week to make the most of the fantastic activities on offer.”
Satvir Kaur, cabinet for communities, culture and leisure at Southampton City Council, praised the work of organisers ahead of the first ever sailing week.
Rees Leisure, who are behind the event, also saw the first full marathon return to the city after 33 years in April.
Cllr Kaur said: “Southampton has always prided itself on being a maritime city. Organisers have done exceptionally well in planning the week. Some people can go their whole lives in the city and not go out on the water and that’s a great shame.
“It’s also aimed at young children to try and get them involved, and it’s a brilliant diverse addition to the calendar of Southampton along with Common People and the ABP marathon.”