Tall Ships Races weekend takes place in Greenock

Tall ship off Arran - picture by Garry Burns
Image caption Ships have been sailing into the Clyde for several days

Participating vessels in the Tall Ships Races have arrived in Greenock for a weekend of public events.

The 57 ships will be on the Clyde until 12 July, when they depart for their next official port of Lerwick.

The last time the event came to Scottish waters, in 1999, more than 800,000 people visited the site in Greenock over four days.

Local organisers Sail Inverclyde have said they hope visitor numbers this year will match, or exceed, this total.

The ships which have put into Greenock represent 14 nations. More than 1,800 crew members have been working to make them ready for visitors.

David Wilson, chairman of Sail Inverclyde, said: "You can really feel the excitement in the air now for the arrival of the tall ships.

"Our time has been working tirelessly to ensure that there is plenty to see and do across all four days.

"I think that visitors to the site will have a wonderful experience at the Tall Ships Greenock and we look forward to welcoming them."

The first night finale will feature singer Lulu.

Parking in Greenock will be scarce and visitors have been encouraged to use public transport, or leave their cars at park and ride facilities. These are close to the M8, at Nether Southbar near Bishopton, and at IBM on the A78, between Greenock and Inverkip.

Image caption Ships from 14 nations are represented in Greenock

The Sunday programme includes a crew parade and street theatre.

Race Director of Sail Training International David Wilson said: "Scotland hosted a fantastic event in 1999 and we are delighted to be back."

The events in Greenock end on Tuesday with a parade of sail, as the ships leave harbour one by one, accompanied by a Red Arrows air display.

EventScotland have put £105,000 of funding into the tall ships visit. They said the return to the Scottish economy should be significant.

Mike Cantlay, chairman of EventScotland and VisitScotland, said: "Bringing the Tall Ships Races to Scotland is a great coup for our country and we are delighted to fund this event and support it with our international and UK marketing activity.

"In the year of Active Scotland this event provides a spectacular showcase of Scotland's wonderful coastline."

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