TWO stars of the yachting world have thrown their support behind Southampton’s first ever dedicated sailing week.

Dee Caffari MBE, the first woman to sail single-handedly and non-stop around the world, and Helena Lucas MBE, Paralympic gold medallist, say it’s about time the city had an official celebration of the sport.

Both are ambassadors for Sunsail, who, with MDL Marinas, are supporting the Southampton Sailing Week which will run from May 24-29.

Despite the fact it sits on one of the most popular stretches of water in the UK, Southampton has never had an official sailing festival.

Helena, an ambassador for Sunsail, said: “It will be a fantastic week for everyone, whether you’re a sailor already or never been out on the water, hopefully we will convert you.

“Southampton has brilliant access to some amazing sailing conditions, with Southampton water and the Solent, one of the most famous stretches of water, on its doorstep. So please get involved and experience what Southampton has to offer as a city on the coast.”

Dee, also a Sunsail ambassador, added: “Southampton Sailing Week is not just another regatta, it is a showcase week celebrating all the activities that take place in this vibrant area. What is really exciting is there are a multitude of ways to try and experience the water-based activities throughout the week encouraging everyone to enjoy this area and its surroundings and be inspired to get involved.”

Southampton Sailing Week will be offering a wealth of events on and off the water.

These include:

l A parade of sail featuring up to 500 vessels including yachts, RIBs, motorboats, kayaks and paddleboards (Saturday 27)

l A regatta party in the heart of the city, where revellers can sip on Southampton Sailing Week cocktails and socialise at a range of participating bars and restaurants (Sunday 28)

l Sailing taster days with Sunsail

l Six days of racing on the water including the Sunsail Corporate Challenge

l Free dinghy sailing sessions for schools, families, individuals and businesses at the Southampton Water Activities Centre

l A ‘Classics on the Quay’ display of classic cars, supercars, bikes and scooters at MDL’s Shamrock Quay Marina

l RIB treasure hunts with Solent Events

l Daily charters

l Model yacht racing