Diamond Jubilee Flotilla report

The MBM team report back from the greatest on water event for 300 years

Her Majesty’s

Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant had arrived, and we had managed to secure a

place in the 1000-strong Flotilla, as part of the recreational boat fleet.

We were aboard

MBM team member’s Neale Byart and Claire Frew’s boat, T L Sea, a Sealine S28, berthed in Essex. She made the journey up

earlier in the week, joining participants of the MBM Cruising Club Jubilee

Weekend event

The weather

threatened, but, in true British fashion, nothing was going to get in the way

of celebrating 60 years of our glorious Queen. 

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The day started

slowly, with keen anticipation turning to nervous impatience. Having been

ferried to TL Sea before 0900hrs it

was not until 1400hrs that we heard any news on departure. Luckily for us, we

had Barbara Windsor and Steve McFadden, of Eastenders fame, sat alongside to

keep us entertained.

The rowing boats

marked the start of the Flotilla’s move downstream, pulling past us just after

2pm. A most spectacular sight as they bunched together to squeeze through the

moored boats. Soon we were following behind, the sheer number of boats quite

awe-inspiring to witness.

Another moment to

savor was the crowds lining the riverbanks. Cheering and waving their flags,

they created an enormous sense of pride across the feet. We onboard TL Sea felt humbled by it all, acutely

aware that we were part of something very special and historic. We also admit

we succumbed to a slight feeling of celebrity, as any wave from the boat

brought a huge and immediate response from the crowds ashore.

Certainly, there

was plenty of drama on the water. The VHF radio buzzed with activity. An

imposter vessel tried to sneak into the middle of the fleet, but security craft

soon removed them from the flotilla.

As we approached

the city, impossibly the crowds seemed to grow in number and volume. Rain was

now hammering down on TL Sea’s canopy

overhead, but nothing could drown out the roars from the shore. It was such an

amazing feeling, being part of the biggest event of its type on the Thames for

350 years.

Tower Bridge was

open to salute passing vessels, and soon after we dipped our ensign as we

passed Her Majesty the Queen who was now moored safely at President’s Quay.

Here, just down

from Tower Bridge, we passed the official finish line for the Flotilla, but the

Pageant was far from over for us and the other 999 vessels. As to avoid

congestion, we all made our way to the Thames Barrier before turning back

upstream and heading for Limehouse lock where we would berth for the night.

Read the full

story in the August issue of MBM.


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