Maritime hitch for Great Yarmouth festival

Preparations for Great Yarmouth’s annual wave of nautical entertainment were blown dramatically off course last night as one of its star attractions was delayed by strong winds.

The Oosterschelde should have arrived in the town today but was beaten back by strong winds as it made the journey from Holland to takes its place as the centre-piece of the weekend’s Maritime Festival.

The delay means passenger sailings due to take place early this morning have been cancelled with those who had already booked likely to be offered later slots.

Aileen Mobbs, festival chairman and director of the Greater Yarmouth Tourist Authority which stages the event said that although Tuesday’s gale force eight winds had subsided the tall ship had been delayed and was now expected to arrive later tomorrow.

She said: “The weather has played a bit of havoc. The Oosterschelde is going to be late in so that is going to mean a cancellation of one or two sailings and that is disappointing. I’m afraid its just one of those things but its Natures way. It is unfortunate that it has affected the schedule.”

The festival’s other tall ship the Jubilee Sailing Trust’s Lord Nelson is due to arrive at around 7.30am on Friday as planned from Skegness.

Otherwise all the other arrangements were shipshape and watertight for a weekend of maritime merriment Mrs Mobbs said, serving up a salty brew of music, boats and time-warp crafts, this year anchored by more free activities for children and its biggest ever fleet of accessible ships.

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The festival, now in its 12th year, will launch on Saturday with a swashbuckling stunt which will see pirates tumbling from the Lord Nelson’s rigging.

Taking place from 10am on both Saturday and Sunday, visitors and locals will find plenty to get involved with, with organisers relying on a popular tried and tested formula with a few tweaks and a heavy dollop of fun provided by street theatre and costumed characters.

See this Friday’s Mercury for more festival news.