All set for the Tall Ships Parade of Sail

Crowds on the quayside at the Tall Ships Regatta.

Crowds on the quayside at the Tall Ships Regatta.

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The North Sea Tall Ships Regatta reaches its climax today with a stunning Parade of Sail.

The majestic Tall Ships will set sail from Blyth this afternoon, a fitting finale to the four-day nautical extravaganza the town has hosted over the bank holiday weekend.

Pirates ahoy!

Pirates ahoy!

The ships are due to leave port at 12.45pm, when the fleet will set sail south along the coast towards St Mary’s Lighthouse before heading to a point several miles off the coast to prepare for the race start to Gothenburg, Sweden.

The Parade of Sail takes place between 12.45pm and 3pm and for the perfect viewing spot, why not head down to South Beach, just next to the iconic Blyth beach huts?

Use the park and ride south car park, then you just need to cross the road, walk onto the beach and you’re there.

The south park and ride car park ,which was closed yesterday due to heavy rain, will be open today.

Entertaining the crowd. Picture by John Tuttiett Photography

Entertaining the crowd. Picture by John Tuttiett Photography

Yesterday, despite a damp start, the skies brightened as the day wore on and thousands of visitors flocked to the event, with some travelling the length and breadth of the country to see the Tall Ships spectacle.

Coun Val Tyler, cabinet member for arts, leisure and culture at Northumberland County Council, said: “This weekend continues to amaze me. The nightly fireworks displays lit up the town and surrounding areas with their blaze of colour.

“To be able to be part of the joy and excitement of the thousands of people who came to share this wonderful experience will be a lasting memory for me personally.”

Martin Lawlor, chief executive, Port of Blyth, said: “The Port and the rest of the site have been buzzing again today and there is now a real sense of excitement ahead of the ships sailing out to start their race to Gothenburg.”

Alan Ferguson, chairman of Fergusons of Blyth, the event’s principal sponsor, said: “As a key business in the area, to see so many people coming into Blyth and helping boost the local economy, this weekend has been fantastic for the town.”

The four-day event is the largest ever in the county, attracting thousands visitors to the town who have been able to climb on board the ships, enjoy free family fun, parades, live music, fireworks and evening entertainment. The event will close at 5pm today.

The county council, in partnership with the Port of Blyth and Sail Training International, is hosting the prestigious Regatta. Fergusons of Blyth, one of the UK’s leading privately-owned haulage companies and the biggest in the North East, is the principal sponsor for the event in celebration of its 90th anniversary.

Follow all the action with our live blog Remember to use the hashtag #TallShipsBlyth to get involved.