Lord Nelson sailing ship set for Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival

Things are literally looking up for Great Yarmouth's Maritime Festival – with a daring aerial circus act set to tumble from the rigging of a magnificent tall ship.

The Lord Nelson will berth at historic South Quay for the two-day festival next month and provide the backdrop to the Pirates of the Caribina aerial display by the No Fit State Circus.

The swashbuckling stunt will herald the start of the popular event, now in its 12th year and whose line-up – one of its biggest ever – was confirmed yesterday.

Around a dozen craft from impressive tall ships to bright offshore supply boats will bob alongside each other offering more access and trips than ever before.

Also featured will be the wherry White Moth – the last one ever made – harking back to the golden age of sail, a war veteran and a movie star.

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But the main attractions will be the spectacular tall ships including the Oosterschelde, the only remaining three-masted Dutch topsail schooner in the world.

Built in 1918 and restored to her former glory in Rotterdam in the early 1990's, the Oosterschelde has a beautiful wooden panelled lounge-bar area and can carry up to 120 passengers.

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Passenger sailing trips from two to four hours are available from Thursday September 8 until Saturday.

Ken Sims, chairman of the Greater Yarmouth Tourist Authority which organises the festival said: 'Sailings on the Artemis and Mercedes at previous Maritime Festivals proved very popular with visitors who were keen to experience life under sail out on the high seas. The Oosterschelde is possibly the most magnificent of all the tall ships who have visited so far, and is sure to be a great asset.'

The Jubilee Sailing Trust's Lord Nelson, a regular visitor, is one of only two tall ships in the world especially designed for a crew with a range of disabilities.

Built over two years from 1984 to 1986 in three different locations, she has taken more than 24,000 people on voyages to ports all over the UK – but rarely hosted circus acrobats.

River cruises including a trip to the outer harbour will be available at 11am, 1pm and 3pm on both days of the festival aboard the MV Coronia, a 1935-built pleasure steamer which used to take trippers out to see the seals.

She rescued 900 troops from Dunkirk during the second world war and afterwards returned to use as a pleasure cruiser in Scarborough where she still works.

Other boats and ships attending the Maritime Festival include the MTB 102, a motor torpedo boat built in 1937 and restored to feature in the 1976 film, The Eagle has Landed starring Michael Caine.

Lifeboats on show will include the Samarbeta from Great Yarmouth and Gorleston RNLI, an all-weather Trent Class seagoing lifeboat and Caister Volunteer Lifeboat Service's Valentine Class life boat, the Bernard Matthews II.

The Maritime Festival is on September 10-11. For sailings contact Great Yarmouth Tourist Information Centre or on 01493 332200.


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