Sunderland has the honour of being the start port in this month long international event. The ships will embark on a race covering over three hundred nautical miles to Esbjerg in Denmark, a cruise in company to Stavanger, Norway, then the final leg of the 2018 Races to Harlingen in the Netherlands.

There’s plenty of fun for people staying on land too! A festival of culture and entertainment will take place across four event zones. There will be music, circus and dance as some of Sunderland’s best creative talent take to the stage with international performers. Of course there’s also the opportunity to explore the ships and chat to the captains and crews about life at sea, and each event zone has food, drinks, exhibition stands and activities.

Highlights of the event include a carnival-style crew parade on Thursday 12 July, as over 1000 crew members make their way through the city centre to a prize-giving ceremony on the river banks.

Friday 13 July sees an awe-inspiring high-wire walk across the River Wear by performers Cirque Bijou.

And Saturday bring the spectacular Parade of Sail, as the ships leave their berths, and travel together up the coast, before turning around and heading out to the North Sea to start their race to Denmark.

For full event information go to