Page last updated at 14:29 GMT, Monday, 21 July 2008 15:29 UK

Tall Ships fleet in Mersey parade

The Stavros S Niarchos on the River Mersey

Liverpool's Tall Ships Race Festival has come to a close with a spectacular parade along the River Mersey.

The 60 rigged ships are set to embark on a five-week race, the first leg of which leaves from Northern Ireland on Wednesday bound for Norway.

About 200,000 people flocked to Liverpool and the Wirral to watch as HMS Argyll, a Royal Navy frigate, led the Parade of Sail at 1400 BST.

Up to 800,000 people visited the ships in Liverpool over the weekend.

The largest fleet of Tall Ships ever assembled in the city arrived at Albert and Wellington docks late last week before Princess Anne launched the festival on Friday.

The vessels, from more than 18 countries, including Brazil, Poland, Oman and Germany, are now set to assemble off the coast of Northern Ireland for the first race leg to Maloy, Norway.

After Maloy, the ships will head to Bergen, also in Norway, for the second leg to Den Helder in Holland.

It is the third time Tall Ships race entrants have visited Liverpool - competitors also sailed along the Mersey in 1984 and 1992.


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