History is set to be created on Southampton Water this spring as the city hosts a spectacular parade of sail. Hundreds of craft, from one-man kayaks to huge luxury yachts, will take to the water to celebrate the first ever Southampton Sailing Week.
The action will begin at 11am on Saturday May 27 led by a Svitzer tug shooting plumes of water into the sky. Following close behind will be the larger of the participating vessels such as motorboats and RIBs (Rigid Inflatable Boats). Trailing them will be the smaller sail boats and dinghies, followed finally by canoes, kayaks and paddleboards.
As many as 500 different watercraft could take part as the parade spans from the Itchen Bridge towards Hamble.
Chris Rees, organiser of Southampton Sailing Week, said: “It’s a hugely ambitious project but one that we know will create a truly iconic moment in Southampton’s history. With the possibility of up to 500 different craft taking to the water on the day, we’re working closely with Southampton’s Harbour Master to ensure it’s planned with meticulous precision.”
Charter firm Sunsail is set to enter 30 yachts into the parade of sail and scores of berth holders at local MDL marinas have already pledged to take part in the event.
Adrien Burnand, Head of Marketing at MDL Marinas, said: “Southampton’s inaugural Sailing Week will be a fantastic celebration of the Solent and MDL Marinas is delighted to be sponsoring this event. The city has such a rich maritime history but many people aren’t aware of the variety of opportunities available on the water. This week will provide a fantastic occasion to raise awareness and get people out on the water, which what we’re always trying to encourage as a local marina operator.
“The parade of sail will be an unparalleled event for the city and is the first of its kind. Our local marinas taking part include Ocean Village, Shamrock Quay and Hythe Marina Village, and they will make perfect viewing spots for the water carnival. We’ll also be hosting an array of activities to get involved with, from water sports and leisure sailing, to music and BBQs. We can’t wait for the event to commence and welcome visitors, both who are new to sailing and our members.”
Councillor Satvir Kaur, Cabinet Member for Communities, Culture and Leisure at Southampton City Council said: “Southampton and its people have a long and rich history with the sea. It is currently the busiest Port in Europe, though its waters have brought industry, employment and enjoyment to our communities for centuries.
“I am really excited to help launch and support Southampton’s much over-due, first ever Sailing Week. I’m confident the planned parade will be a fantastic asset to the great events on offer and will bring all of Southampton’s communities together; from all ages, backgrounds, businesses to schools, so that we can collectively celebrate Southampton’s great maritime history and identity. I cannot wait!”
The parade of sail is open for anyone with a sea-worthy vessel to take part in. To register your interest or find out the best vantage points to watch from the shore visit www.southamptonsailingweek.co.uk