Saturday, 20 August 2022

Gloriana shines at Traditional Boat Festival

THOUSANDS of people attended a vintage boat rally at Fawley Meadows near Henley

THOUSANDS of people attended a vintage boat rally at Fawley Meadows near Henley.

The Thames Traditional Boat Festival took place over the weekend with about 200 boats taking part.

The event, now in its 36th year, was previously known as the Thames Traditional Boat Rally.

One of the boats was Blue Bird K3, Sir Malcolm Campbell's hydroplane, which broke the world record for speed on water in 1938 when it reached 138mph.

However it did not run down the Thames as expected because a small engine fire broke out when it was first put in gear on the Saturday.

Karl Halbard, whose family has owned the boat since 1988, said trying to get it going was not worth the risk.

He added: "We have been preparing the boat for its fun for weeks. It's a highly strung piece of machinery and luckily the modern equipment inside stopped any real damage."

An automated electronic system to detect any fire in the engine put the blaze out as soon as it started.

Therefore the boat did not perform its 2.1km runs along the Henley Reach on Saturday and was on display in the grounds on Sunday.

Highlights over the weekend included a row by on each day by Gloriana, the Queen's row barge, which is usually moored at St Katherine's Dock in London.

She was powered by Leander Club members on the Saturday and Phyllis Court Club members on the Sunday.

A flotilla of 18 Dunkirk little ships went along the river on both days.

Ian Gilbert, the commodore of the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships, said the group always enjoyed coming to Henley.

He said: "The Thames Traditional Boat festival is full of real wooden boat enthusiasts so we always enjoy coming here."

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