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Sutton Harbour Plymouth Classic Boat Rally lays on Family Friendly entertainments for 2016

28th July 2016

Family-friendly entertainments laid on for 2016 Sutton Harbour Plymouth Classic Boat Rally

Plymouth is preparing to welcome dozens of historic boats this weekend as the 29th annual Sutton Harbour Plymouth Classic Boat Rally takes place from Friday, July 29th – Monday, August 1st.

The hugely popular event is expected to attract thousands of visitors to Plymouth’s historic harbour in the heart of Britain’s Ocean City to enjoy the sight of 65 boats, many of them more than 100 years old and included on the National Register of Historic Ships, moored up along the cobbled quayside.

This year marks the 10th year the rally has been held in Sutton Harbour, and the 2016 event will offer more family-friendly shoreside entertainments than ever before with live music, traditional fairground rides, storytelling, buskers, face painting and arts and crafts workshops to enjoy all weekend.

A traditional Devon crab pot maker will be demonstrating his skills and constructing willow crab pots on the quayside, and a Cornish boat builder will be explaining how he builds and restores traditional wooden sailing boats and making wooden oars.

The beautifully restored vessels moored in the marina will include luggers, schooners, classic sail and motor boats, dinghies, gaff rigged boats, pilot cutters, yawls, bermudan rigs, lifeboats and steamboats.

The star attraction is likely to be the dramatic Nao Victoria, which is visiting Sutton Harbour for a month on her first ever UK tour and is moored up alongside Quay Road until August 21st. The Spanish frigate is an exact replica of the 16th century ship which was the first vessel to ever sail around the world, and is already drawing the crowds.

Visitors to the Sutton Harbour Classic Boat Rally can enjoy access to the Sutton Harbour Marina pontoons from 10am until 5pm on Saturday, July 30th and Sunday, July 31st so they can view all of the boats in the rally.

Entry to the pontoons costs £2 for adults, £1 for children, and £2 for a programme, or a family ticket (4 people) including programme is £6. All profits go to the non-profit Plymouth Classic Boat Rally organisation.

Four historic lifeboats will lead out a Parade of Sail into Plymouth Sound involving all the boats at 1pm on Sunday.

Other entertainments taking place on Saturday and Sunday include:


  1. 2pm-6pm. Live music, with guests performing from the pontoons adjacent to Cap’n Jaspers, including:
  1. Michael Campari
  2. Sunnyside Up
  3. Duncan Argyle and Lucy Pell
  4. Andy Brice
  5. Marcus Hicks
  6. Doc Wallace
  7. Karen Howell and Russell Westcott
  8. Doctor Cox and the Fox


  1. 10am-6pm. Traditional fairground carousel in Quay Square
  2. 10am-5pm Saturday. Demonstrations by East Devon crab pot maker Dave French on the quayside by Quay Square. Dave is a fifth generation Withy Pot maker who can trace the making of these pots in his family back by four generations. This 400 year old heritage craft involves producing each pot from willow grown in Somerset, and Dave will demonstrate the techniques involved.
  3. 10am-5pm Sunday. Demonstrations by traditional wooden boat builder Marcus Lewis from Fowey, Cornwall. Marcus builds, restores, repairs and maintains wooden boats working with traditional designs and specialises in the production of wooden masts and spars, including booms, bowsprits, gaffs, sprits and flagpoles. Marcus will be making oars and other pieces on the quayside and talking about his craft.
  4. 11am, 12.30pm, 2pm. Storytelling shows by Emma Spurgin Hussey of Bedlam Theatre Company, Cornwall. Emma’s stories of the Devon and Cornwall coast are packed with piracy and pilchards, celebrating the maritime history of the region, and will be bringing the rally to life as she entertains listeners.
  5. 11am-3.30pm. Science buskers from the National Marine Aquarium roaming the harbour and quayside area. Watch live experiments and see some marine creatures at close quarters.
  6. 11am-4pm. Messy Cart offering maritime-themed arts and crafts workshops. Kids can get crafty and enjoy making and decorating wooden sailing boats, layering colourful sea life sand ornaments, decorating nautical bags and painting ceramic boating money boxes.
  7. 11.30am & 1pm. Busking performances by Louis Bernard. This 13 year old singer and guitar player from Turnchapel uses a loop pedal and effects to produce a unique sound.
  8. 10am-4pm. Face painting from the Encore team in Quay Square, costing £2 per face.
  9. A parade of sail in Plymouth Sound on Sunday 31st from 1pm


John Gallagher from Plymouth Classic Boat Rally Ltd said: “We are delighted to celebrate our 10th year in Sutton Harbour, and looking forward to seeing this famous harbour in the very heart of Plymouth brought back to life with so many beautiful boats, many of them over 100 years old, moored up for people to enjoy.

“With such a wealth of historic boats taking part this year, the rally will be creating a living maritime heritage for Plymouth, and show visitors how the harbour would have looked hundreds of years ago.”


Charlotte Malcolm, Commercial Marketing Manager for Sutton Harbour, said: “The arrival of the famous Nao Victoria into Sutton Harbour on her first ever UK visit at the same time as the Sutton Harbour Plymouth Classic Boat Rally means there is so much to see and enjoy on Plymouth’s spectacular waterfront right now, and we are expecting thousands of visitors as a result.

“We’ve organised a packed line-up of entertainments on shore to complement the fantastic spectacle of the boats moored up in the marina, and it should be a great weekend.”


Keep up to date on events in Sutton Harbour and at the Classic Boat Rally by visiting or Sutton Harbour’s regularly updated website at


Don’t forget to follow @Sutton_Harbour on Twitter or on Facebook at for live updates.


The Nao Victoria is open every day from 10am until 7pm, and tickets cost £4 for adults, £2 for children under 11; entry is free for children under five. Visit for more information.