Fifth Gosport Marine Festival outstanding success
Over 350 people took to the water as part of Gosport’s Marine Festival over the weekend.
This free community event aims to inspire locals to connect with the sea and encourage people, especially children and young adults, onto the water to try out a variety of watersports.
“We’re delighted with the turn out,” says Barry Easton-Corke, Gosport Marine Festival chairman. “Now in its fifth iteration, the festival is as popular as ever with hundreds of young people and their families getting out on the water and over 3,000 people coming down to enjoy a fun-filled day out, making the most of the onshore activities and experiencing Gosport at its best.”
Activities on offer included dinghy sailing, stand-up-paddleboarding, kayaking and sailing trips. All activities and safety equipment were generously provided by local organisations and sailing charities including the Andrew Simpson Foundation, Stokes Bay Sailing Club, Wetwheels Solent and Spirit of Scott Bader.
Visitors also enjoyed an eclectic array of entertainment from local artists including swing music, sea shanties and rat pack crooning.
Mike Wood, who owns Spirit of Scott Bader and runs the Disabled Sailing Association, says he loves coming to the festival. “It’s nice to give back to the community and take people out on our boat, which is the only wheelchair accessible sailing boat in the world really.
“This event is about giving local people the chance to get out on the water, which they might not normally have.”
Visitors also got onboard several historic vessels moored in boatfolk’s Haslar Marina for the festival, including Medusa, one of the first vessels to arrive at the Normandy beaches ahead of the D-Day landings, the junk yacht Boleh designed and built in 1948, WW2 High Speed Launch 102 and a landing craft.
An Inspiration Zone saw marine companies offering careers advice to young people. Companies who exhibited included, the Royal Navy, Marine Concepts, Seldén Masts, Qinetiq and the Andrew Simpson Foundation.
“We’ve had in excess of 400 people come into the Inspiration Zone and they’ve engaged really well with the marine industries here,” says Christopher Groves, underwater business development lead at Qinetiq. “It’s been a fantastic opportunity for companies to show what they do and to expose to young people what the opportunities are from a career perspective on the Gosport peninsula, and Portsmouth Harbour more generally.”
Organised by Portsmouth Harbour Marine in partnership with Gosport Borough Council, this year’s Gosport Marine Festival was supported by the Andrew Simpson Foundation, boatfolk, the owners of Haslar Marina, Hampshire County Council, Wates Residential, Gosport Hospital Radio, MAA, British Marine Trades Association, ASDA, Seldén Mast, Lee-on-the-Solent and Stokes Bay Sailing Clubs, Gosport Sea Cadets, Gosport Scouts, Master Mariners, Victoria Quay, Qinetiq, Regional City Airports (Solent Airport), SubSea Craft, Trafalgar Properties and Premier Gosport Marina.
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