Historic greats at Traditional Boat Festival

Thames Traditional Boat Festival Victorian passenger steamer Alaska will be on show at the Thames Traditional Boat Festival in July. Credit: Mike Phillips/ Thames Traditional Boat Festival

A survivor from the Great War and a colourful but unhurried Royal spectacle will be shown their paces when they line up with a World beater at the 40th Thames Traditional Boat Festival in July.

The late Sir Malcom Campbell’s Bluebird K3 hydroplane powerboat, built in 1937 to win back the World Water Speed record from America, will be taken along the full royal regatta course by owner Karl Foulkes Halbard during the July festival at Henley-on-Thames.

Speaking of Bluebird, which broke the world water speed record piloted by Campbell three times, festival co-chairman Lady Judy McAlpine, said: “She will provide an historic photo-opportunity alongside the colourful spectacle of the Royal row-barge Gloriana - at 92 feet the longest ever built. We will also be welcoming one of only a few World War I Royal Navy vessels still afloat.”

Dunkirk Little Ships

Coastal Forces Motor Boat No 9 is thought to be the only surviving WWI torpedo boat and she will line up with the Heroes of Dunkirk, the fleet of Little Ships that sailed across the English Channel to help with the evacuation of Dunkirk during world War II.

Other special attractions include a Victorian passenger steamer, Alaska, the oldest still in regular service and there will be the annual illuminated parade when traditional boats illuminated with thousands of lights sail into Henley on the Saturday night.

The Gloriana and Dunkirk Little Ships sail-past takes place on all three days - July 20 - 22 - and Bluebird K3 will be demonstrated on the Saturday and Sunday afternoons of the festival.

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