Navy chiefs paid tribute at the post-Review media briefing to the discipline, behaviour and cooperation of spectator craft skippers
Arrangements for spectator boats to view the International Fleet Review on Tuesday 28 June proved a great success, according to the Review’s Royal Navy organisers. Navy chiefs paid tribute at the post-Review media briefing to the discipline, behaviour and cooperation of spectator craft skippers, which made the task of marshalling the spectator anchorages much easier than some had anticipated.
The presence of “thousands” of spectator craft provided a colourful backdrop to the Royal review of the international fleet of warships, merchant vessels, tall ships and recreational craft assembled in The Solent to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar and the death of Admiral Lord Nelson.
Many spectator craft remained afloat into the evening to watch an air display and son et lumiere recreation of the battle before the biggest fireworks display yet witnessed in the UK brought proceedings to a dramatic close.
The many spectator boats headed for designated anchorages all around the Review coped comfortably with crowded waters and deteriorating weather that culminated in an early evening thunderstorm with torrential rain and gusting winds. Only a handful of minor incidents were reported, most involving engine problems.
A fleet of 100 fast craft and volunteer crews, coordinated by the RYA but operating under the command of the Queen’s Harbour Master in Portsmouth, helped marshal the spectator boats. They also provided a ‘civilian’ outer security ring for the review fleet, operating outside the inner zones controlled by the Police and military.
“The spectator fleet did us proud today in demonstrating the success of the RYA’s ethic that education, not legislation, is the way to ensure safety afloat,” said RYA Chief Executive Rod Carr. “The RYA is grateful to each and every one of them, whether skippers or crew.
“It’s a ringing endorsement of Britain’s emphasis on training, rather than regulation, that so many people have been able to support and enjoy this remarkable event from the water in perfect safety, without any need for a license or permit. That’s the way the RYA believes it should continue. I’d also like to thank the many RYA members who volunteered to help marshal the event and whose efforts over two days played their own part in ensuring the Review’s success”