A SPECTACULAR parade of 70 vessels will sail along the River Mersey next month for the start of the Tall Ships Race.
The visiting fleet will be berthed in Liverpool's Wellington and Albert docks from July 18 to July 20, before leaving for Maloy, Norway, in a parade of sail at 2pm on July 21.
The four-day spectacle, organised by Sail Training International, is expected to attract tens of thousands of people from across the country and beyond to Merseyside.
While docked a number of the ships will be open to the public, which means there will be plenty of opportunity to climb aboard and find out more about the realities of life at sea. The fully accessible ship, Lord Nelson, will berthed in Wellington Dock.
A host of sea-themed entertainment, including a theatre ship and music from the Royal Marines Band. The ships will then sail south and line up in the River Mersey. HMS Liverpool is expected to lead the parade and the official Parade Salute will be taken from the flight deck of HMS Ark Royal. Best views will be from the Wirral side of the Mersey.
On arrival in Maloy, the fleet will take part in a cruise in company to Bergen, also in Norway for the start of race two, which finishes in Den Helder in the Netherlands.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institute is the Tall Ships' nominated charity this year and official collectors will be out and about during the three-day event