Festival set to Excel

A last minute star attraction has bolstered the nautical line up at this year's ninth Maritime Festival - jostling for top billing alongside an already impressive marine cast.

A last minute star attraction has bolstered the nautical line up at this year's ninth Maritime Festival - jostling for top billing alongside an already impressive marine cast.

On Tuesday evening just as the Lydia Eva took up her position in South Quay organisers heard that the magnificent sailing trawler the Excelsior would be playing a major role in the festival.

The Lowestoft ship - a regular on the maritime heritage scene who appeared at Yarmouth's very first Maritime Festival - had been booked to go to Ipswich but forecasted strong winds changed her plans.

She will take her place alongside a variety of craft whose roles span industry, life-saving and fishing for the two day festival running tomorrow 10am to 6pm and Sunday 10am to 5pm.


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Among them is the stunning scene-stealing Dutch square-rigged two-masted tall ship, the Brig Mercedes, which was due to arrive in the early hours of yesterday morning, much later than planned after its journey from Holland was hampered by strong south westerly winds and choppy waters.

Festival committee chairman and director of the Greater Yarmouth Tourist Authority Aileen Mobbs said: “The Mercedes looks spectacular and of course she is keen to sail. There will be sailings of two to three hours if all goes to plan. Of course we are very excited to have the Mercedes this year and to be able to offer our visitors this amazing opportunity to take to the waves on the newest of tall ships. It should prove to be an exhilarating experience. I think this really adds an additional element to our well loved and well established festival.”

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The massive brigantine is a German registered Tall Ship which was fitted out in Holland and was inaugurated in 2005. It combines the latest technology with traditional maritime equipment in a totally modern yet very traditional tall ship which can also welcome wheelchair users on board.

Shouts notwithstanding the Samarbeta, the RNLI Lifeboat, and the Bernard Matthews II, the independent Caister Lifeboat will also be on view, along with Gardline's two survey vessels, the mv Confidant , and the mv George D. The Horace and Hannah shrimper will be sailing up and down the River Yare. The HMCC Valiant, a HM Revenue and Customs ship and the MBT 102 are just two of the other vessels which will be moored alongside.

Action on the water will be matched by a bustling quayside with a raft of food stalls, cookery displays, entertainment, craft stalls, Punch and Judy singing and displays - following the already popular formula with added new elements.

Visit www.maritime-festival.co.uk for updates on events entertainment and confirmed vessels

The Maritime Festival is organized by the Greater Yarmouth Tourist Authority and Great Yarmouth Borough Council in conjunction with Eastport UK.

Tickets for the three hour sailings are available from the Yarmouth Tourist Information Centre on Marine Parade or by telephoning 01493 846346.

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