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Inaugural Southampton Sailing Week opening day

by Alyson Marlow 27 May 2017 21:31 BST 24-29 May 2017
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston on Suhaili for the opening day of Southampton Sailing Week © Andrew Sassoli-Walker

A spectacle unfolded on Southampton Water today as more than 100 yachts, RIBs and motorboats paraded en masse as craft of all types took to the water to take part in a parade of sail, celebrating the first ever Southampton Sailing Week.

At the front was was one of the world's most famous sailors, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, in his boat Suhaili.

Also leading the way was a huge Svitzer tug, shooting plumes of water into the sky, and more than 100 watercraft, including motorboats, RIBs, yachts and even rowing boats.

There were some recognisable vessels in the fleet, including Geoff Holt MBE's Wetwheels, a specially adapted catamaran to help people with disabilities enjoy sailing and SS Shieldhall.

Chris Rees, organiser of Southampton Sailing Week, said: "It was the perfect way to celebrate the first ever Southampton Sailing Week and we're delighted so many people from far and wide brought their boats along to take part.

"The Solent is known as one of the best stretches of water in the UK for sailing and today's parade of sail helped us to show that to the world."

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston added: "It was an honour to lead the parade of sail and to see so many people out in their boats. There's nothing quite like getting out on the water and I hope Southampton Sailing Week will become a regular fixture in the Solent's sailing calendar."

The parade of sail marked one of the highlights of Southampton Sailing Week, which so far has included racing on the Solent, free dinghy sailing sessions for local schoolchildren, The Great Coal Row and other chances for people to get out on the water.

Other events taking part as part of Southampton Sailing Week include:

  • A regatta party at various bars and restaurants throughout the city
  • Classics on the Quay at MDL Shamrock Quay Marina
  • Southampton Sailing Club open day
  • MDL Hythe Marina Village open day
For a full list of events visit www.southamptonsailingweek.co.uk

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