Oh buoy, what a day at the Tall Ships Regatta

Crowds at the opening day of the Tall Ships Regatta.
Crowds at the opening day of the Tall Ships Regatta.
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Even the weather didn’t disappoint as Northumberland’s biggest ever event weighed anchor yesterday.

Blyth was a hive of activity and excitement as thousands of residents and visitors flocked to the town for the first day of the North Sea Tall Ships Regatta 2016.

After months of planning, the event finally got under way with sunshine and blue skies providing the perfect backdrop to the 23 majestic Tall Ships lining the length of the quayside.

The Tall Ships Regatta is expected to attract more than 100,000 visitors over the course of the weekend who will be able to climb on board the ships, enjoy free family fun, live music, street theatre, fun fairs, fireworks and evening entertainment. The event will be open until 10pm today and Sunday and 5pm on Monday.

Today’s highlights include a parade of the ships’ crews and community, which will start at 3pm, and a spectacular 20-minute firework display at 9pm.

Northumberland County Councillor Val Tyler, cabinet member for arts, leisure and culture, said: “It is really great that the event has started so well, with thousands of people coming into the town to see the ships and everything else on offer. The best thing is there’s still three days to go!”

Martin Lawlor, chief executive, Port of Blyth said: “Seeing the quayside so alive with people and the magnificent tall ships moored side by side along the river is a spectacle that will live long in the memory. We are pleased that the months of planning are now complete and the event has got off to a great start.”

Alan Ferguson, chairman of Fergusons of Blyth, the event’s principal sponsor, said: “We’re so proud to see our town in the national spotlight with crowds lining the quayside and enjoying all the entertainment. There is so much to see and do around Blyth this weekend and we’re all looking forward to the next few days.”

Northumberland 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.

There is no parking in Blyth town centre over the weekend but an extensive park and ride system is in operation. For full details visit www.tallshipsblyth2016.com