Tall ships make the journey for Bristol Harbour Festival

21 July 2017

Two impressive tall ships have entered Bristol harbour ahead of the Harbour Festival, as a celebration of the city’s proud maritime heritage.

The Phoenix and Earl of Pembroke had sailed from Dublin, Ireland, before mooring overnight off the Welsh coast, near Barry. Under blue skies, and with a strong wind that allowed them to travel up the Avon under full sail, they passed beneath the Clifton Suspension Bridge, watched by a growing crowd.

“She’s a fantastic ship,” dockside observer Norman said as we watched the Phoenix sail closer. “It’s extremely unusual to see them come up the river under sail. I love the maritime history of this place, and to see this is fantastic.”

Phoenix was built in 1929 in Denmark as an evangelical mission schooner. She carried cargo until an engine fire, and, after several complete refits, has appeared in many films.

Earl of Pembroke was built in Sweden in 1945, and has been refitted to resemble HMS Endeavour, the boat Captain Cook sailed on his voyage to discover Australia. Her film credits include Treasure Island, and she is a regular on the maritime festival circuit.

Phoenix proudly flew the Red Ensign, the flag of the merchant navy, while Earl of Pembroke opted for the Jolly Roger instead.

The tall ships were accompanied by HMS Dasher, a Royal Navy patrol and training vessel that has previously seen action in Cyprus during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

As the three boats eased into the first lock to gain entry to Bristol harbour, they were greeted on the dockside by a cheerful “Hello shipmate, how are you doing?” from a man dressed in full Naval apparel.

After a short wait, which afforded curious passers-by an excellent photo opportunity, Plimsoll Bridge stopped to traffic and swung dramatically to allow the ships safe passage into the Cumberland Basin.

Under the watchful eye of the harbourmaster, they moored up before navigating the next section of Bristol’s busy waterway. They join tall ship Kaskelot, in a prime harbourside spot opposite M Shed, for the duration of the Bristol Harbour Festival weekend.

Source: B24/7, July 21 2017

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