SUNDERLAND is preparing to welcome the French navy to the Tall Ships Race 2018.

SIX more ships, including four Class B and two Class C vessels have pledged their support for event. The new registrations bring the current number of ships taking part to 42.

The newly registered ships include De Gallant, Caroline af Sandnes, JR Tolkien, Challenge Wales, Dyrafjeld and Hosanna.

Class C vessel Hosanna is operated by Ecole Navale, the French naval academy, sailing for the benefit of academy students.

Sunderland City Council’s culture portfolio holder, Councillor John Kelly said: “It will be fantastic to welcome these latest crews. Not just from Ecole Navale but also from elsewhere in France, Norway and The Netherlands. Just these six vessels give an indication of the truly international nature of this event.”