By Caroline Wilson on September 10, 2018
Every year, St Katharine Docks, the marina next to London’s Tower Bridge, hosts the Classic Boat Festival. This year, we were lucky enough to be asked to take part.
Planning mode ensued… The logistics of getting Poppy from her home in Burnham-on-Crouch to London was harder than you might think! We had a number of challenges to overcome; borrowing a car capable of towing her, actually towing a 7m long boat for the first time, locating a slipway suitable for launching her into the Thames from, working out the best time to make the voyage up the Thames, and getting permission to row through the Thames Barrier.
Fortunately for us, Lisa from our ground crew team generously offered up her truck for us to use, Susan put in some towing practice time, we worked out the rules of cruising on the Thames, and got the permission we needed to do it. Game on! On a sunny Sunday afternoon, we took a deep breath, and put the plan into action.
Rowing down the Thames was one of the highlights of the last year. What a privilege to see the city from this unique angle, and under our own steam. I’ll not be forgetting that experience any time soon!
Friday rolled around in no time (thanks to an epic 10 hour rowing competition at the National Audit Office on the Tuesday), and it was time for the Classic Boat Festival to kick off. Moored up in prime position next to the Queen’s Rowbarge, the Gloriana, we spent the next 3 days showing off our Poppy to the curious crowds, sharing our story and spreading the word on plastic pollution. We were even lucky enough to be invited to board the Queen’s Rowbarge by Malcolm and Matthew who indulged us to the point of letting us get on the oars! What an honour.
We met so many wonderful people and were overwhelmed with the support from our families, friends, the classic boat community, marina residents and general public. It was really a weekend to remember!
Thanks to Paul and the team at St Katharine Docks for putting on a such wonderful weekend and allowing us to be a part of it.
A huge thanks to Compass Rose Design, Atlantic Spirit, Driftwood Shaper, Eco to Go, and SodaStream for generously donating the prizes, allowing us to raise almost £600 going towards getting the team to the start line!
Back to blog