A host of historic boats will be sailing and steaming into Plymouth this month for the Sutton Harbour Plymouth Classic Boat Rally.
This year, the hugely popular event has an especially strong focus on maritime history, with many of the expected 70 or more boats taking part from July 29th -August 1st being more than 100 years old and featured on the National Register of Historic Ships.
The star attraction at the weekend-long event, which always attracts thousands of visitors to Plymouth’s spectacular waterfront, will be the Nao Victoria, an exact replica of the first ship to ever sail around the world. The Nao Victoria is making her first ever visit to the UK to berth in Sutton Harbour for three weeks this summer, and is arriving just before the 29th annual rally takes place.
The Sutton Harbour Plymouth Classic Boat Rally is one of the highlights in the events calendar of Britain’s Ocean City, with dozens of beautifully restored and maintained vessels bringing the historic harbour in the heart of the city to life.
Along with the spectacle of so many classic boats berthed alongside the cobbled quayside, Sutton Harbour also lays on an array of family-friendly shoreside entertainments including traditional fairground rides, live music, street theatre and stalls.
This year’s rally will feature luggers, schooners, classic sail and motor boats, dingies, gaff rigged boats, pilot cutters, yawls, bermudan rigs, lifeboats and even steamboats.
Special guests include three grand Island Trust Vessels – Tectona, a large ketch built solidly of teak in South India; Pegasus, a replica Bristol Channel pilot cutter, and Moosk, a recently refitted gentleman’s cruiser built 100 years ago.
The magnificent Brixham sailing trawler, Vigilance, is joining the rally following a recent restoration of this powerful vessel, which once formed part of the renowned Brixham fishing fleet.
Four retired lifeboats, included on the National Register of Historic Ships, are taking part, along with the first ever visit by steamboats, with the British-built Halcyon and Quetzel, built in 1920 and 1930 respectively, chugging into the harbour.
All of the vintage vessels will be moored in the 5 Gold Anchor Marina at Sutton Harbour with pontoons open to the general public from 10am-5pm on Saturday, July 30th and Sunday, July 31st for people to view the boats.
John Gallagher from Plymouth Classic Boat Rally Ltd said: “This year’s rally features a fantastic mixture of sail boats, mostly old working sail boats, and a variety of other vessels, like the wonderful, coal-gobbling steam boats.
“With so many of the vessels visiting Plymouth in 2016 being over 100 years old and featured on the National Register of Historic Ships, the Classic Boat Rally has a strong heritage focus for 2016, and will enable visitors to see some living maritime heritage in Plymouth’s famous harbour.
“We are very grateful for the great support from our sponsors and hosts, Sutton Harbour Holdings Plc, and are looking forward to welcoming all of the vessels attending the 2016 rally, which will no doubt once again prove a hugely popular attraction for Plymouth.”
Charlotte Malcolm, Commercial Marketing Manager for Sutton Harbour, said: “Every year, the Sutton Harbour Plymouth Classic Boat Rally becomes a bigger and more popular event for Britain’s Ocean City, bringing thousands of people down to the harbourside to enjoy the sight of these stunning boats berthed in the marina, and bringing the historic heart of Plymouth to life.
“We are thrilled to be welcoming the famous Nao Victoria for her first visit to the UK, as she arrives at our invitation for a three-week long stay in Sutton Harbour, just in time to be the star attraction at this year’s rally, alongside many other famous and historic vessels, and a wealth of shoreside entertainments.”
The Nao Victoria arrives in Plymouth on July 28th a day before the rally begins, and is staying on in the city until August 21st as a guest of Sutton Harbour Holdings Plc.
The impressive replica was built in 1992, and the 27-metre long, three-masted replica is the only exact copy of the famous original, which became the first vessel to successfully circumnavigate the globe in 1522 as part of Magellan’s Expedition.
With four decks and 290 square metres of sail, the Nao Victoria will be a dramatic sight as she sits in Sutton Harbour alongside the other famous ships joining the Classic Boat Rally.
Visitors will be able to board the Nao Victoria from 10am until 7pm every day whilst she is berthed in Sutton Harbour.
Tickets will cost £4 for adults, £2 for children under 11, and entry is free for children under five. Visit www.fundacionnaovictoria.org for advance bookings.
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