ST. KATHARINE DOCKS
Details for 2021 - coming soon
Nine ‘Little Ships’ attended the event this year, JANTHEA, LADY LOU, LAZY DAYS, LETITIA, MARGO II, NYDIA, NYULA, RIIS 1 and WANDA. They were in company with another thirty or so other beautiful classic vessels.
With the festival itself running for three days, Friday 6th, Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th September the display vessels were allowed to take up their moorings from Tuesday 3rd, thus allowing crews to dress overall and prepare their vessels in readiness to greet the public, (the early arrival date also allowed plenty of time for a little bit of socialising with several impromptu dinner parties being held aboard several vessels!)
On the Wednesday evening a ‘Crew Drinks Reception’ was held on the floating platform and included a welcome from the SKD team. A good chance to meet and catch up with other exhibitors, many of whom come back year on year.
On Friday morning SKD laid on a ‘Coffee Morning’, excellent pastries were served, and the Marina had invited several tenants and stakeholders from the estate to meet and mingle with the crews.
Following the ‘Coffee Morning’ at 11:00 the Festival got under way with the ‘Royal Marines Band Collingwood’ playing ‘A life on the Ocean Waves’ followed by an ‘All Boat Fanfare’, when all vessels sound their horns, blow their whistles and ring their bells to announce the opening of the Festival.
During the day members of the public are allowed down onto the pontoons to look over the boats and chat to the crews. Other attractions around the Marina included several talks on the floating pontoon, live music being played, pop up food stalls and children’s entertainment all of which add to the festival atmosphere. The Festival closes at 18:00 with another round of ‘A life on the Ocean Waves’ followed by an ‘All Boat Fanfare’ and the crews can then relax and quench their thirst.
Saturday and Sunday follow similar patterns with Saturday having the most visitors in recent times, perhaps partly due to the BBC Breakfast weather forecast coming from the docks on Friday morning.
One highlight of the weekend was WO Mick Gentry RN giving a talk about his days serving aboard HMY BRITANNIA on the Sunday afternoon.
Following the Festival closure on Sunday evening the crews were again invited to the floating platform for a ‘Crew Final Muster’ and yet again we were given fine wine and offered canapes. Paul Tetlow, the Marina general manager, thanked all those who took part in the event. Some awards were given out to those who had ‘entered most into the spirit’ of the Festival. One of NYDIA’s crew, ‘Pea’, won a tea towel and a canaster of Chinese tea for being the most admired dog, (and probably the most photographed dog) of the Festival, and a raffle was drawn for a coveted SKD original cast bollard, this year won by Tony Farncombe (WANDA).
Monday morning saw most vessels departing the docks and making their way up or down river.
Having attended this event on several occasions I can’t emphasise enough what a great week it is, especially coming towards the end of the season. The financial package that SKD offers participants is extremely generous, the whole of the SKD team are excellent, being helpful, polite and above all very patient. If you haven’t attended before I would strongly recommend that you give it a go!