Cheers greeted US Navy supercarrier USS Theodore Roosevelt as she sailed into Stokes Bay on Sunday.
Hundreds of spectators flocked to the area to watch as the gargantuan vessel, nicknamed the ‘Big Stick’, arrived for a five-day visit as part of a round-the-world deployment.
Earlier, the ship stunned onlookers on Southsea seafront as she dwarfed the Victorian-era Solent Forts sailing through on her way to the bay.
The ship is crewed by more than 5,000 sailors, many of whom will be seen around Portsmouth’s restaurants, bars and shops as they take ‘liberty’ breaks onshore in coming days.
Brian and Jacqui Rodgers traveled from Dorset to see the carrier arrive at Stokes Bay. Mr Rodgers said he was ‘very impressed’ by the ship.
He said: ‘It’s a slumbering giant. I guess it’s one of the biggest carriers in the world. It’s a bit like watching a floating town arrive off the coast. We’ve seen a few carriers before but I think these goodwill visits are getting a lot less frequent than they used to be because they’re more busy militarily.’
Mrs Rodgers said: ‘It’s massive. When you see a sailing boat by go by the side of it you realise how huge it is.’
Eight-year-old Reuben James, from Hedge End, was there with his parents to see the ship. One of many onlookers carrying binoculars, Reuben said he was able to spot individual sailors on the carrier’s deck.
‘It’s great,’ he said. ‘You can see the planes, the helicopters and the people.’
The carrier is accompanied by the guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S Churchill, which has berthed in Portsmouth Harbour. The carrier, which is more than 1,000ft long, is too big to fit inside the harbour entrance.
Fair Winds and Following Seas!