THAMES TRAD BOAT RALLY RETURNS
ORGANISERS HOPE FOR 'BEST EVER'



The Thames Traditional Boat Rally this weekend (July 20th and 21st) will celebrate 100 years of the slipper launch.

The rally, the 35th and the biggest of its kind in Europe, returns to Fawley Meadows at Henley after a year’s forced absence because of flood conditions on the river.

Slipper launches like the ones above, displayed this week at Peter Freebody & Co at Hurley for a press event to highlight the rally, will be on the water. And slippers from each decade of the century since will take part in a sail past.

Over 150 classic and traditional boats have been entered , ranging from rowing skiffs and canoes to elegant launches and a fleet of Dunkirk Little Ships. And with the weather set fair organisers are hoping for a bumper attendance.

A rally spokesman said: “After last year’s sad cancellation due to adverse river conditions, everybody involved is determined to put on the best show yet.”

A replica of the original Thames slipper launch , Merck, (pictured below) wiil be displayed by Freebody's .

merck

Other craft appearing include one of the first and oldest racing power boats still afloat: the launch Fixitor. Alaska, the oldest passenger steamer on the Thames, will provide river trips for visitors.

Boatbuilder Colin Henwood will be showing Elsie (pictured above) , who celebrates her 100th birthday this year and was  built by Hobbs of Henley to a design by the famous Goring boatbuilder Sam Saunders. More details about the boat

A number of the boats attending the rally participated in The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant last year and will take part in a special sail-past each day.

A new prize will be the Eccentric Club Trophy for the most eccentric traditional boat.

Link to Thames Trad Rally website and we'll be updating during the rally.

Link to ITV's look ahead to the Trad Boat Rally

collage

Story dated July 19th 2013

 
     
 
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PHOTO COMPETITION IN MEMORY OF RALLY STALWART

A new competition for amateur photographers is being launched in memory of Peter Meech, a stalwart of the rally who sadly died this year.

The competition is in three categories: the atmosphere of the rally; best boating picture; and for photographers under 16.

Peter Meech owned a variety of river craft and was a director and marketing manager for the rally. At one time he also acted as part time skipper of SS Alaska.

A top photographer in the '60s he photographed celebrities including The Beatles and had a thriving photographic and design studio.

Organisers say they feel a photographic competition is most appropriate and will involve visitors as well as rally participants.

A full obituary will appear in the rally programme.

 
   
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