The first Classic Boat Rally was held in Plymouth in1988 and rapidly became a significant event in the national boating calendar drawing entrants from across the UK and overseas visitors from Germany and Brittany. In 2006 Sutton Harbour began to host the event and this year it celebrates 10 years in this natural waterfront amphitheatre-like harbour.
Every year the event attracts much attention from all aspects of the media with local BBC and ITV networks setting up camp at the Rally and broadcasting live. That attention results in thousands of visitors to the historic Sutton Harbour and the adjacent old Barbican area of Plymouth.
But no longer is it simply about the boats and their visiting crews. The event has extended onto the ancient cobbles and now plays host to shoreside activity that can entertain all members of the family for hours on end. Here is a taster of what is to come – and some ideas to make the very most of your visit to the Sutton Harbour Classic Boat Rally…….
Tall Ship Nao Victoria…
The star attraction at the weekend-long event 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.
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.
Entertainment on the cobbles…
Music on the Harbourside…
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.
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.
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.
To inspire the children…
Friday 29th July
Arrival of boats throughout the day.
Saturday 30th July
The pontoons will be open to the public from 10.00 until 17.00.
The boats will be dressed overall and at midday will raise their sails and blow their horns. There will be live music on the main pontoon in the afternoon.
Sunday 31st July
Parade of Sail and Power and Racing boats will start to leave the Harbour at 12.00. The parade starts at 13.00 and will sail passed the Citadel and along.
Racing in the Sound starts at 13.45 with staggered starts for each group. The pontoons will again be open to the public from 10.00 until 17.00 and there will music during the afternoon.
Monday 1st August
Racing in the Sound. Boats will leave the Harbour from 12.00 for a staggered starts beginning 13.00.
Find out more about events and entertainments taking place during the Sutton Harbour Plymouth Classic Boat Rally by visiting www.plymouthclassics.org.uk or Sutton Harbour’s regularly updated website at www.visitsuttonharbour.co.uk
Don’t forget to follow @Sutton_Harbour on Twitter or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/suttonharbour for live updates.