Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Time to just go with the flow

THOUSANDS of people attended the 35th Thames Traditional Boat Rally in Henley last weekend.

THOUSANDS of people attended the 35th Thames Traditional Boat Rally in Henley last weekend.

The rally, which was held in the river next to Fawley Meadows on Saturday and Sunday, featured vessels built more than a century ago.

A wide variety of boats was on show, including Fixitor, which was built in 1900 and is the oldest racing powerboat still afloat, cabin launches and canal tugs. There were also other working boats, rowing skiffs and light craft.

Alaska, the oldest passenger steamer on the Thames, gave trips to visitors. This year’s rally, which was opened by Mayor Stefan Gawrysiak and his partner Catherine Allan-Notaras, celebrated 100 years of slipper launches.

Peter Freebody and Co, a boatyard in Hurley, showed a replica of the first ever slipper, which was built by John Andrews, of Bourne End, in 1912.

Sloped back slipper launches built in every decade since also participated in the rally alongside 50 boats that featured in either last summer’s river pageant in London to celebrate the Queen’s diamond jubilee or in Henley’s coronation procession held this year.

Robin Ford, a spokesman for the rally said: “After last year’s enforced cancellation due to dangerous river conditions, organisers, participants and visitor alike were determined to make the most of this year’s sunshine, tempered with a light breeze.

“As usual the fleet of Dunkirk little ships made a proud sight and veterans of Dunkirk paraded down the site on Saturday.” On land there was a special display of Austin Healey cars and boats as well as visitors from the Invicta Car Club.

The Sheila Bourne Trophy for the boat voted as the overall best by judges was awarded to Daphne, a cabin launch owned by Graham Mackareth. New trophies this year included the Peter Meech Trophy, which was awarded for the best photographs taken at the rally, and the Eccentric Club Trophy for the most eccentric traditional boat.

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