Maritime Festival sails into Yarmouth

FUN is forecast but it’s the wind that’s a worry, organisers of Great Yarmouth’s maritime festival said this week, ahead of the opening.

Gunfire will signal the start of parades and ceremony at 10am when hundreds of hours of preparations finally come together to give Yarmouth and its visitors a weekend of seafaring action.

With plenty to do on land and on the water, organisers are predicting a successful weekend which relies on a popular formula and a few new tweaks.

Festival director Aileen Mobbs said on Wednesday that organising something on the scale of the maritime festival was never going to be plain sailing, with so much to consider and all the stewards and safety regulations.

“There have been a few problems but the weather has not been one of them so far,” Mrs Mobbs said, “And now the marquees are up you can begin to see that something is happening. It’s all looking good and everything is happening as it should, and if the weather holds for us that will be even better. Wind is my worry – rain is just wet but it’s the wind that is dangerous.”

The first of the showpiece ships was expected on Wednesday, including the MV Coronia, and the three-masted Russian replica frigate the Shtandart, and a tug from Lowestoft.

This year the fesitval stretches from South Quay to Stonecutters Quay to encompass BBC One’s Bang Goes the Theory Roadshow.

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The festival has a strong offshore theme, giving visitors a fascinating insight into the work of a modern day off-shore vessel, with several supply and offshore boats scheduled to be in port for visitors to go aboard, subject to industrial commitments.

Visitors can enjoy sailings aboard the MV Coronia out of the river port and into the outer harbour until Monday at 11am, 1pm, 3pm and 5pm.

Meanwhile, moored on the other side of Haven Bridge next to the BBC Bang goes the Theory Roadshow, the 1920s’ pleasure cruiser the Southern Belle will be operating river trips from Stonecutter’s Quay on Saturday at 10.40am, 1.25pm and 3.10pm and on Sunday at 10.40am, 1.13pm and 3.35pm.

As well as demonstrations of maritime crafts such as net mending and ship building, maritime related arts and crafts, local herring and kippers, local beer and some of the finest shanty singers on three different stages, the BBC Bang Goes The Theory Roadshow which will be putting on a number of science performances from noon on both days, inviting visitors to get their hands on water-related science.

Vistors can also catch cookery demonstrations, walkabout performers, including The Giant Seagulls, displays from the East Norfolk Militia and other street theatre artists as well as appearances by Admiral Lord Nelson and Lady Emma.

The town hall will be open over the weekend for tea, coffee, model boats and guided tours 10am to 4pm.

l Visit for more information.

l See centre page pull-out for the full programme