Video: Yarmouth Maritime Festival ready to set sail

Anthony CarrollAs the Artemis gently rocked in the waves alongside Yarmouth's South Quay yesterday it harked back to the days of elegant tall ships ploughing their way off the Norfolk coast.Anthony Carroll

As the Artemis gently rocked in the waves alongside Yarmouth's South Quay yesterday, it harked back to the days of elegant tall ships ploughing their way off the Norfolk coast.

And the three-mast former whaling ship is about to take people back to days of high seas adventure as she takes part in a celebration of Yarmouth's nautical heritage this weekend.

The 59m-long Dutch barque and a dozen other vessels are the centrepiece of the town's 10th Maritime Festival tomorrow and Sunday.

To get landlubbers in the party mood, the 83-year-old Artemis will be taking people out on the North Sea over the festival, which is expected to attract tens of thousands of maritime enthusiasts.


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And festival goers can also go on a free tour of the graceful vessel and see its plush interiors - reminiscent of a top-notch hotel.

Yesterday, festival favourite Grand Turk, a replica 18th-century frigate, was also docked at South Quay as the final preparations for one of the largest events in Norfolk gathered pace.

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For one of the organisers of the festival, Kirsty Burn, seeing the tall ships arrive at the resort brought a shiver down her spine.

And her excitement could reach fever pitch as she watches the last of the trio of sailing ships arrive at Yarmouth - the Jubilee Sailing Trust's Lord Nelson.

Mrs Burn, from the Yarmouth Tourist Authority, said: "The Grand Turk came by my window at work - how exciting is that?

"When you look at the two ships docked at the quay, it is easy to imagine what Yarmouth would be like in the heyday of sail."

Alongside the three tall ships will be the cutter HMC Vigilant which tonight makes a short hop from its usual crimefighting forays in the North Sea.

With her advanced tracking equipment, HMC Vigilant and her 12-man crew are at the forefront of the UK Border Agency's sea patrols to combat crime, smuggling and terrorism on the North Sea.

The HMC Vigilant's captain said he was eagerly anticipating his visit to the town and the opportunity to explain his vessel's hi-tech crimefighting equipment used to catch drug smugglers and people traffickers.

Commander Colin McAuslan said: "Many people are unaware that we use sophisticated ocean-going vessels such as this to tackle smuggling and gain intelligence on a daily basis."

Also appearing at the Maritime Festival will be Scarborough pleasure cruiser MV Coronia, the Excelsior and the Wherry Hathor - making her final tour before she is decommissioned.

Yarmouth and Gorleston RNLI boat Samarbeta, the mine hunter HMS Hurworth, MTB 102 and patrol vessel HMS Raider are also docking at the quay.

Yarmouth's Lydia Eva, the world's last remaining steam-powered herring drifter, will also be open to visitors.

During the festival, shanty music and maritime songs will be performed by the Tyneside Maritime Chorus, the Cromer Smugglers and the Jolly Rogers.

Other quayside entertainment includes craft displays, beer tents, Punch and Judy shows, a feast of fish marquee, the East Norfolk Militia, a display by swimming Newfoundland dogs, and a Natural England tent will be showing children the wonders of sea life.

The festival runs from 10am to 6pm tomorrow and from 10am to 5pm on Sunday. Entrance is free but visitors are asked to make a donation of �1 to help meet running costs.

Feast of fish marquee cooking demonstrations run from 11am both days.

A dockside tour of the Grand Turk costs �4 for adults, �2 for children, �3 for concessions with a family ticket costing �10. The Wherry Hathor is also offering sailing trips during the festival. To book a place, or for further information, call 01603 610734.

The Artemis is named after the goddess of the hunt and was built in Norway in 1926.

Originally a whaler, she was refitted as a tramp freighter in the 1950s and travelled extensively between Asia and South America.

She was reconverted into an elegant sailing ship in 2001.

She has 1,050 sq m of sail and a caterpillar 750 PS bowthruster main engine.

She can accommodate up to 120 passengers and has 14 en-suite cabins.

The Artemis will be going out on three-hour or five-hour sailing trips from today to Monday. For more details, call 01493 332200.

To view video footage of the Artemis at South Quay, visit www.edp24.co.uk

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