Gosport Marine Festival shipshape and ready for action

Places for some of the pre-bookable activities are being snapped up but there will still be plenty to do and experience at this year’s Gosport Marine Festival, as Chief Correspondent Rob Thomas has been finding out…

ORGANISERS of the Gosport Marine Festival say the programme of events and entertainment are just about in place for when it ‘drops anchor’ next Saturday – September 4.

Every two years, individuals and organisations from the area come together in the south east corner of Gosport – in and around Haslar Marina, the Cockle Pond, Holy Trinity Church and green, and the Millennium Timespace – to provide a wide range of maritime and related activities, and information about the marine industry in the borough.

‘Plenty of opportunities remaining to try something new’

It is free of charge and so anyone can just go along on the day unless they want to participate in some of the boating activities – sailing, kayaking, paddleboarding and trips on a wheelchair accessible catamaran – which are mainly for younger people and need to be booked in advance.

For these activities, the organisers advise participants to wear clothing that they don’t mind getting wet, and to bring a towel.

Barry Easton-Corke, Gosport Marine Festival chairman, is urging people to book their places because he is, “thrilled with the level of interest so far, with some activities fully booked already, although there are still plenty of opportunities remaining to try something new and get out on the water”.

Booking is online at: www.bookwhen.com/gosportmarinefestival

For those who like to remain on or very close to dry land, ‘THE WHALE – ‘Plastic Ocean’ sessions presented by Circo Rum Ba Ba women’s theatre are also pre-bookable using the same website.

Alongside at Haslar Marina and open to visitors will be a Border Force Coastal Patrol Vessel and a range of historic ships including Steam Pinnace 199, HMS Medusa and World War Two High Speed Launch 102 – no pre-booking required as they will be available to all throughout the day.

‘Sea shanties and Gosport Sea Cadets performing the Sailor’s Hornpipe’

It all gets under way at about 9.35am with a parade – that includes the Rose & Thistle Pipes & Drums – in the Millennium Timespace, before the guest of honour, Admiral Sir Jonathon Band and the Mayor of Gosport Councillor Mark Hook, officially open the festival at 10am.

Timespace then becomes the entertainment centre of the festival with a range of musical acts – many of which will have a nautical flavour such as the singing of sea shanties and Gosport Sea Cadets performing the Sailor’s Hornpipe – plus a magician.

The Military Wives choir will bring the festival to a close at about 4pm.

Further information about the festival – including the times of the entertainment in Timespace – can be found at: www.gosportmarinefestival.co.uk

Organised by Portsmouth Harbour Marine in partnership with Gosport Borough Council, the Gosport Marine Festival is 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, Regional City Airports (Solent Airport), SubSea Craft, Trafalgar Properties, and Premier Gosport Marina.

Photo (top): youngsters sailing on the Cockle Pond during the 2019 festival