Gallery: Fleets of boats to flock to the Waterfront

HUNDREDS of boats will be descending on Ipswich Waterfront next weekend as part of a fantastic nautical celebration.

Maritime Ipswich will feature a wide array of boats and visiting vessels for people to admire, jump aboard and experience.

The festivities will begin on Friday, August 18, when to kick-start the weekend, The Orwell Lady will be offering a wine-tasting sunset cruise from Ipswich to Harwich harbour.

The Orwell Bridge is one of the most iconic Ipswich landmarks, and there will be 60 minute round trips taking place three times a day on Saturday and Sunday, departing from Orwell Quay. With full commentary and the chance to catch a glimpse of peregrine falcons, the trip is the perfect way to experience the waters of Ipswich and learn more about the fascinating Maritime history.

For those with a sweet tooth, the Cream Tea Cruises will be hosted aboard the SB Victor Barge. The three-hour boat trip – from 2pm to 5pm on both Saturday and Sunday – promises stunning views and tasty treats.

The Ipswich marina will dock a whole host of visiting vessels over the course of the weekend. The MT Kent will be returning for a second year, moored along Orwell Quay. The boat was built in 1948 and took part in the Queen’s Jubilee River Pageant earlier this year.

The Lady of Avenal, an impressive 102ft Brigatine, will be docked by the Customs House where crew members will be demonstrating traditional boat skills.

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The Barge Thallatta is a seagoing vessel built with massive oak frames – a superb example of a fully-rigged traditional spritsail barge built in Harwich in 1906.

The barge has now taken on a role with the Sail Trust and thousands of young people have benefited from living and working as crew on Thallatta’s five-day voyages.

Over the weekend, the Old Gaffers Association will also be running a series of water activities, including rowing races, sailing races and sculling races.

Paul Clement, chief executive of Ipswich Central, said: “We’re very proud of our Maritime heritage in Ipswich and it will be fantastic to see the marina full of these magnificent vessels. Educational, yet entertaining for adults and children alike, it’s a great opportunity to see these boats up close.”

See the gallery, above right, for images from last year’s festival