The first Gosport Marine Festival is a big hit, as thousands turn up to enjoy the action and hundreds of kids get out on the water.
A thousand free places were on offer to showcase the wealth of water-based activities available with boats, safety equipment and instructors provided by local organisations and sailing charities including Gosport Sea Cadets and Lee on Solent Sailing Club.
As well as the Crewsaver GoWaterSport activities, in the Float Show historic and performance vessels were open to the public. They included Medusa, one of the first vessels to arrive at the Normandy beaches ahead of the D-Day landings; Gosport-built Gypsy Moth IV, the yacht in which Sir Francis Chichester became the first man to sail solo around the world; and GREAT Britain, one of the Gosport-based 70-foot ocean racing yachts getting ready to take part in the Clipper Race later this year.
Ben Lippiett manager of Haslar Marina said,
“Two things in particular stand out from today: It’s been fabulous seeing so many kids getting the opportunity to get out on the water that may not otherwise have been able to do so. I’ve also been speaking to lots of folk who’ve lived here for years who have never been into any of the marinas so it’s been wonderful to be able to say we’re part of the town, these boats are part of the heritage of Gosport and to be able to open the gates and welcome them down. We couldn’t be more thrilled with how it’s gone today.”
The Festival was opened by Gosport’s record breaking yachtsman, Alex Thomson and at the closing ceremony three Young Sailing Ambassadors will be announced to spread the word among their peers about the fun to be had on the water. Sam Frost from Lee on Solent Sailing Club, Rosie Hill from Stokes Bay Sailing Club and Harry Salmon from Gosport Sea Cadets are part of the legacy project Gosport Marine Scene will develop from this inaugural Gosport Marine Festival.