This weekend sees the launch of the seventh Whitbread Round the World Race, made famous by Tracy Edwards and her all-female crew in 1989. The race involves 10 yachts from six countries. Most crew will have sacrificed vast amounts of blood, sweat and tears for the privilege of spending a gruelling nine months and 31,600 miles at sea.

And for what, you may well ask? Well, the lucky winner will receive a trophy. The Volvo Trophy no less. But more important for the competitors is the thrill of taking part in the world's most famous yacht race, originally conceived over a pint of beer 24 years ago.

But you don't have to own an expensive, sleek, ocean-going yacht to be part of the experience. The organisers have laid on special activities in Ocean Village, Southampton. Visitors are promised live music, a massive firework display, balloon flights and a display by the Red Arrows, among others.

Details: 0891 66 44 44.