TODAY marks the 200-day countdown to the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Weymouth and Portland is the largest Olympic and Paralympic venue outside London and up to 60,000 spectators and visitors are expected to visit each day.

In the borough, July 27 is also the opening night for the free live site on Weymouth Beach, where up to 15,000 residents and visitors at a time will be able to enjoy the Olympic atmosphere with the help of two giant screens.

Hundreds of Coastal Voices singers will give an open-air performance ahead of the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games being broadcast.

The live site will show footage of the Sailing events when racing starts on July 29 in addition to other Olympic sports.

A total of 380 athletes will be going for gold on the waters of Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour and there is a strong chance of British medals.

Dorset sisters Lucy and Kate Macgregor and their crewmate Annie Lush will be competing in the new Olympic Match Racing event.

Lucy, 25, said: “Time is definitely going by very quickly, we’re really excited but there’s still plenty to do.”

Kate, 20, added: “People keep saying ‘You can win it’ but the pressure is from ourselves, we know we can do it.”

Selection for seven of the 10 Olympic classes was made last September and an announcement today is expected to determine the single British slots for the three remaining classes.

Portland’s Stuart Bithell, who is campaigning in the men’s 470 dinghy event with helm Luke Patience, said: “Today is the 200-day countdown to the London Olympic games which makes myself and Luke very excited.

“There is potentially a decision about the three Olympic sailing events not already selected.

“Hopefully, with our successful recent World Championships we will receive good news, but anything can happen.”

In addition to the live site, there will be many other free activities for visitors and residents taking place across Dorset as part of the London 2012 Festival and Cultural Olympiad.

The borough will be playing host to ‘Maritime Mix – London 2012 Cultural Olympiad by the Sea’, the biggest cultural festival the region has ever seen.

This will include the Battle for the Winds, a spectacular three-day theatrical celebration, and the Jurassic Coast Earth Festival.

Other seafront attractions will include a sports arena, the ICCI 360 theatre dome and the ticketed Bayside Festival venue on the Pavilion peninsula, with a capacity for 8,500 people, which will showcase 250 bands over the two-week period, local arts and culture, food, drink, crafts and attractions, including the Jurassic Coast.

The London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay will pass through on July 12 and 13, with a big, free celebration on Weymouth seafront on the first night.

Weymouth Esplanade and seafront has undergone significant regeneration in readiness for the Games, including the restoration of Victorian shelters, pavement widening, new highway lighting, new refreshment kiosks and bus shelters with real time bus information.

• The London 2012 Olympic Sailing will run from Sunday, July 29, to Saturday, August 11, with 380 athletes competing in 10 medal events.

Paralympic Sailing will run from Saturday, September 1, to Thursday, September 6, with 80 athletes competing in three medal events.

LOCOG's plan for the Nothe gardens

DURING the two-week Olympic period, the Nothe Gardens will become the official ticketed venue for 4,600 spectators a day, run by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG).

It is the first time sailing has been ticketed during an Olympic Games and event organisers say it will enable them to manage spectators in the area safely and accommodate them in terms of transport, catering and other facilities.

Last July, the borough council’s planning and traffic committee gave the go-ahead for fencing, tents, cabins and other temporary structures at Nothe Gardens during Games time, including a temporary 2.1-metre-high security fence.

A LOCOG spokesman said: “The Nothe Gardens is for ticketed spectators; this will be a secure site with security fencing.

“There will be no ‘Weymouth wall’ which will obstruct views for either ticketed spectators or local residents living on the edge of Nothe Gardens.

“For spectators without tickets there are numerous vantage points in Weymouth Bay and close by areas as well as the Live Site on Weymouth Beach.”