A ROUND the world solo yachtsman was the guest of honour at a marine festival in Hampshire.

Alex Thomson, skipper of Hugo Boss, officially opened the Gosport Marine Festival, held on the waterside of the town.

Aiming to connect Gosport people with the sea that surrounds the area, the free community event had opportunities for people of all ages to find out more about boating of every kind and Gosport’s marine recreation, sporting and employment industries.

Gosport Marine Festival chairman, John Beavis MBE, said: “The festival attracted 5,000 visitors in 2015. It is a great family event, especially for young people who can come along and enjoy themselves.

“First timers are most welcome and there is plenty for experienced sailors too. If you don’t fancy going afloat, you can watch in safety or enjoy the exhibitions and entertainment ashore.”

The activities on the day included sailing dinghies, big yachts,

kayaking and rowing in Haslar Marina, as well as windsurfing, paddleboarding and kayaking at the Cockle Pond.

There were short voyages for disabled people aboard the Wet Wheels accessible catamaran and Little Shipmates provide seafaring activities for children too young to go afloat.

The festival also featured a marine art and craft exhibition, mainly by local artists.