Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Royal Navy and RAF back at boat festival

SIR Malcolm Campbell’s 130mph world record-breaking speedboat, the Bluebird K3, will again attempt its first public

SIR Malcolm Campbell’s 130mph world record-breaking speedboat, the Bluebird K3, will again attempt its first public outing under its own power at this year’s Thames Traditional Boat Festival at Henley over the weekend of July 15 to 17.

Last year’s festival was a great success, with more than 10,000 visitors and Bluebird’s attempt drew huge crowds to the bank in anticipation.

Unfortunately, there was a small engine bay fire that halted the run, so better luck to the Bluebird this year!

More than 180 traditional boats of all sorts and sizes will participate — from Three Men in a Boat-style Thames rowing skiffs and punts, Venetian gondolas to slipper launches and a fleet of more than 20 Dunkirk Little Ships, including a return visit from Second World War torpedo boat, the MTB 102.

New for this year is a visit from the Royal Navy First World War torpedo boat CMB9 and the RAF Second World War launch ST1502.

The very popular Queen’s row barge Gloriana will also pay a return visit, allowing the public to get close up and see her rowed each day. She will be joined by the 1883 steam boat Alaska.

More than 100 vintage and classic vehicles will be on land as well as military vehicles and a fleet of more than 20 amphibious craft splashing in and out of the river. The Royal Navy will also be present with a land-based display.

Air displays will be mounted on both Saturday and Sunday using vintage and wartime aircraft including the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster. Together with the Bluebird, this will offer the rare opportunity to hear seven Rolls-Royce Merlin engines going at the same time.

Catering will include the return of the very popular Golden Ball pop-up pub, the Time for Tea vintage tearooms, Daisy’s vintage ice cream and plenty of other unusual food and drink emporiums.

Or simply bring a picnic to enjoy on the riverbank.

There is lots of live jazz and period music to enjoy, with a big band on Saturday evening.

There will also be shopping opportunities with everything from deck shoes to slipper launches on offer.

The festival has always provided lots of fun and entertainment for children — under-18s get in free if accompanied by an adult — and this year is no exception.

For more information or to book advance tickets at a discount visit the website or see our Facebook page or @tradboatfest on Twitter.

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