Sunday, 26 September 2021

Royal rowpast at boat festival

A BOAT that set a water speed record in the Thirties will perform laps of the Henley Royal Regatta course next weekend.

A BOAT that set a water speed record in the Thirties will perform laps of the Henley Royal Regatta course next weekend.

The Environment Agency has given permission for Blue Bird K3, which was designed by Sir Malcolm Campbell, to give high-speed demonstrations as part of the Thames Traditional Boat Festival.

Officials will close off the course while the craft performs two 2.1km runs along the Henley Reach, once at 5pm on the Saturday and again at noon on the next day.

The hydroplane powerboat, which has a 27-litre engine, set a record of almost 131mph in 1938.

Almost 200 boats will be at the festival, which will take place on and off the river at Fawley Meadows.

The event, now in its 36th year, used to be called the Traditional Boat Rally but has been rebranded and enlarged to include many new attractions.

At 2.20pm on the Saturday and the Sunday, 25 Little Ships that took part in the Dunkirk evacuation will participate in a flotilla to mark the 75th anniversary.

They will head downstream to Temple Island then turn around and make their way to Henley Bridge before returning.

The Queen?s row barge Gloriana, which attended the royal regattas from 2012 to 2014, will return for two row-pasts. The first, at 12.15pm on Saturday, will be carried out by athletes from Henley?s Leander Club while the second will be conducted by members of the town?s Phyllis Court Club at 12.30pm on the Sunday.

Hobbs of Henley will be running a ferry service from the River and Rowing Museum in Mill Meadows to the festival site. It will call at Red Lion Lawn, Leander Club and Phyllis Court Club en route. Adults will pay £3 for a single trip or £5 return and children go free.

There will also be fly-pasts by military aircraft while more than 100 vintage and classic cars and motorcycles will be on display.

At 10pm on the Saturday, an illuminated boat convoy will set off from the festival site and parade along Henley?s waterfront before turning around at Rod Eyot.

The event was called off last summer due to flooding. It is now run by a new committee under new president Lady McAlpine Fawley Hill.

Committee member Dan Hayter said: ?We?re very excited about the festival.

Although there are big attractions like Blue Bird and the Little Ships, there will be loads of smaller things to do throughout the whole weekend so there will be something for everybody. I?m confident this will be the best year in the festival?s history.?

An adult weekend ticket costs £22, although group and online booking discounts are available. Visitors may camp overnight or stay in caravans for an additional charge.

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