SMILING seafarers set sail on a series of homemade rafts at Europe’s biggest free beach festival.

The swashbuckling builders took their colourful creations on to the water to see if they would sink or swim at this year’s Paddle Round the Pier event.

Some sailed majestically towards the West Pier while others slowly sunk to the sea floor.

An estimated 50,000 people made their way to Hove Lawns at the weekend for the two days of sunshine and swimming.

Standout designs included a large seagull, a tropical island paradise - complete with a mermaid - and a convincing Jaws-themed raft.

The elaborate rafts were thrown in the deep end as they were tasked with carrying their crews to victory in the Paddle Something Unusual event.

Other events that took place during the weekend included The Big Paddle, a series of swimming races and the all new Doggy Paddle.

This saw a bunch of paddleboarding pooches and their owners try to break the world record for the most paddleboarders and their dogs to travel a set distance.

For those people looking to stay dry, the festival also offered a series of stalls and live music throughout the event.

Paddle Round the Pier started in 1996 organised by a group of surfers trying to raise funds and awareness for the charity Surfers Against Sewage.

Since it began it has raised more than £300,000 for organisations including The RNLI , The Wave Project and Brighton Surf Lifesaving Club.

In 2017 it became a charity and now uses money raised at the event to give grants towards local good causes.