WITH just nine weeks to go until the port welcomes a fleet of 47 vessels and an estimated 100,000 people for the Falmouth Tall Ships Regatta, organisers have confirmed the event is on budget and on track to deliver a weekend to remember.

The regatta, which runs from August 28 to 31, will see 47 ships of various sizes moored within the docks, Pendennis Marina and at Falmouth Haven moorings, which is more than double the number which took part in the 2008 regatta. “We are going to need a very large shoe horn to get them into the docks,” said John Hick, chairman of Falmouth organising committee.

“All the arrangements are in hand and it's all going pretty well. These events happen because we get enormous support. These are difficult times, but we have still had support from the county and town councils and our many sponsors - we are very fortunate. A&P have given up their major docks for almost a week, Pendennis Marina and Falmouth Harbour Commissioners are accommodating us, without this cooperation, events like this would not happen.”

Sam Groom, Visit Cornwall's event manager for the regatta, said the budget for the event had been set at £402,656 and that with just over two months to go, they were still on budget. “We are hoping to sell quite a few programmes during the event as that's the one area we can make income because everything is free,” she said.

Many of the larger Tall Ships will be berthed alongside County and Duchy Wharves within the docks and will be open to the public on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Around 5,000 visitors can be accommodated within the docks at any one time where they will be able to not only view the ships, but also enjoy the entertainment laid on.

Over the three days, 100,000 visitors are expected to descend on the docks and then on the Sunday, when the parade of sail takes place ahead of the start of the race, it is anticipated that another 100,000 people will gather along the coastline between Falmouth and Rosemullion Head to witness the spectacle.

When Falmouth last hosted the Tall Ships Regatta in 2008, it directly generated £12 million for the local economy plus an additional £6 million indirect expenditure and the hope is it will generate even more this year.

In addition to the ships themselves, this year's regatta will offer four days of entertainment with a packed programme of shore-side activities. There will be three stages, at the docks, Events Square and Church Street car park, offering live music, various markets, a crews' parade, children's activities, fairground rides, photography and art exhibitions and a firework display over the harbour on the Saturday.

Photographer John Cadd will also be showing his Ships-Shapes exhibition at the Falmouth Hotel throughout the regatta. The pictures on display will be the best he has taken over the last 20 years at tall Ships races around Europe - from Bergen to Barcelona and Finland to Falmouth.

For more information on the regatta visit www.falmouthtallships.co.uk.