Dutch racing yachts have been promised a warm welcome as they prepare to sail into Hartlepool next week.
Two years on from their first visit to the town, vessels will tie up in Hartlepool Marina as part of a 500 nautical mile race from the Netherlands.
The fleet of up to 20 tall yachts are due to arrive in Hartlepool on Wednesday, having stayed in Hull for the two days previous.
The vessels will vary in size between seven metres and 13.5 metres, and could be worth up to £200,000.
The race is organised by the Dutch Offshore Sailing Society, with the boats expected to average about 11 metres in length.
Shaun Houghton-Birrell, manager of Hartlepool Marina, said: “They are not professional sailors, but they are very competitive amateur sailors.
It will provide direct income into the marina area, and it’s good for the profile of the townShaun Houghton-Birrell
“It’s called the North Sea Triangle race, and after they used Hartlepool for it two years ago, they said they had such a great reception here that they were keen to do it again.
“Since the last time, we’ve had an increase in Dutch visitors to the town, so hopefully this can have a similar effect.
“It will also provide direct income into the marina area, and it’s good for the profile of the town.
“We’re really looking forward to seeing and welcoming them.”
Next Thursday, the group will be welcomed by a function at Jacksons Wharf, at the Highlight, Hartlepool.
There will be a barbecue, while the Ceremonial Mayor of Hartlepool, Coun Rob Cook, will give a welcome speech.
However, that event is for visiting crews and berth holders of the marina, and is not a public event.
The vessels will spend two days in Hartlepool as part of the race before heading back to the Netherlands.
During their stay, they will be shown around the town, including the Historic Quay and Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience.
They will leave en masse before 9am next Friday.