Although it is almost always foggy and rainy here in the United Kingdom, there are occasional flashes of good weather. We caught one of them in July at the Portsmouth International Festival of the Sea.
We had taken our boat apart, to fit new linings to the hull. We knew it would be a big job. Still, we were pretty much there, and the boat was looking good, so we took part in the Festival of the Sea as one of the classic and traditional boats (not so much by virtue of her years, but of her wooden heritage).
Great fun – we loved looking over the tall ships, and went aboard lots of little wooden yachts (very bad for us, as it made us yearn awfully).
The boys sat in Eurofighter jet simulators, survived Army assault courses, marvelled at guns and stuff, and resolved to join just about every Service going (including the Dutch Marines – the Rotterdam was there and they went up a training climbing wall on board).
The attached family photos are the proof. The first photo has Matthew “helming” the Astrid (a tall ship) being chased by the USS Winston Churchill. The second photo features Matthew at the controls of a Hawk jet – one of the RAF ‘Red Arrow’ display team planes. The third photo is a general view of the small ships and you can see the crowds. Our sail boat, Candida, is dead centre of the picture, just ahead of the blue-hulled boat. The last photo shows Matthew on the bows of the Matthew. It is a true replica of John Cabot’s boat in which he sailed to the colonies. They took this one over to America and boy does it roll in a storm… The crew have interesting stories to tell!
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