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Page last updated at 10:16 GMT, Friday, 30 April 2010 11:16 UK
Countdown is on until Hartlepool hosts Tall Ships 2010
Crew members of the Black Diamond of Durham
Crew members of the Black Diamond of Durham are preparing for the race

In under 100 days, Hartlepool will host the final leg of the 2010 Tall Ships race.

Around one million people are expected to descend on the town for the event, which takes place between Saturday 7 August and Tuesday 10 August 2010.

The town beat off competition from Newcastle, Leith and Aberdeen to host the competition.

With just over three months left until the event, BBC Tees' Lee Johnson went to see how preparations are going.

Work to do

At the moment, the Tall Ships village isn't much to look at.

A vast sea of grey concrete, black metal pipes and the occasional tuft of green grass make up the site.

But come August, event organisers say that the 66,000 square feet site will be filled with large white tents, thousands of people and, of course, a host of tall ships.

For the Tall Ships team, the final weeks before the event marks the culmination of four years of planning, but project manager Michelle Daurat says the hard work begins now:

"We've done an amazing amount of work over the last few years but there's still an awful lot to do over the next 100 days.

"We will pull it off and it'll be an amazing event, we just need to knuckle down and ramp up the pace now."

Huge experience

So far 59 vessels have signed up for the race, with ships coming from as far as Oman, Russia and Indonesia.

Competing alongside them will be the North East's very own Tall Ship, the Black Diamond of Durham.

Tall Ships 2010 dock
The Class A ships will be berthed in this dock near the historic headland

Hartlepool students Adam Holvey, 16, and Rachel Carroll, 17, will both be flexing their sea legs in the race. Adam says he can't wait:

"It's going to be a huge experience because I haven't really travelled around Europe much, but it's going to be really good."

"It's a once in a lifetime experience", says Rachel, "I'm nervous but it's really exciting."

So as the clock ticks down to an event the town's elected Mayor, Stuart Drummond, is calling "Hartlepool's Olympic Games", what can the hundreds of thousands of people expected to attend look forward to seeing?

Michelle Daurat says it'll be the be the biggest party the town has ever seen:

"You'll see some amazing tall ships which people can go on to and speak to the crew.

"There will be an amazing entertainment programme, lots of food with an international flavour, so lots to see and do and smell and taste."

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