The 16th Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival returns on Saturday September 5 (10am-6pm) and Sunday September 6 (10am to 5pm) to celebrate the town's proud maritime past and important maritime future with visiting ships including The Götheborg (the world's largest wooden sailing ship) and the Jubilee Sailing Trust's Lord Nelson. It's the first time that the Swedish Götheborg will be seen at a UK Maritime Festival.
There's also a full programme of international shanty and folk music, street entertainment, arts, crafts and children's activities. The festival is organised by Greater Yarmouth Tourism and Business Improvement Area (GYTABIA) in association with Seajacks UK Ltd, www.maritime-festival.co.uk.
Festival activities and entertainment on South Quay are free; a donation of £1 per visitor towards festival costs is welcomed.
As well as The Götheborg and JST Lord Nelson, MTB102, the third last vessel to leave Dunkirk in 1940, will be on South Quay, Great Yarmouth. along with steam drifter Lydia Eva, RASC Fast Launch Humber, RNLI Great Yarmouth & Gorleston's Samarbeta lifeboat, HMC Protector (customs cutter) and MV Confidante (Gardline coastal survey vessel).
Shanty and maritime music will be performed throughout the weekend at three different venues on South Quay. New visiting shanty groups and singers are Patrick & Miguel from France, Scheepsfolk from The Netherlands, 2 Anchors from Gloucester, Roaring Forties from Scunthorpe and Kimber's Men and Monkey's Fist both from Yorkshire. Returning performers are Suffolk's John Ward & Mario Price and Capstan Full Strength. Wrentham Brass Band will also be there to start Sunday morning with a maritime programme.
Visitors will be able to go aboard The Götheborg, JST Lord Nelson, and the Lydia Eva, and meet Admiral Nelson and Mrs Hamilton, Horatio Herring, Lofty the Lighthouse and Mrs H. There will be military re-enactments from East Norfolk Militia, street theatre from Inner State, Punch and Judy shows with Professor Pulson and face painting and balloon modelling.
There will also be opportunities to learn more about the Broads (the nation's latest designated National Park) and local nature reserves, meet the RSPB and Norfolk Wildlife Trust, watch Ernie Childs paint a maritime scene, as well as learning the art of lace making, spinning, gansey knitting, maritime wood carving and even have a go at making a fisherman's net.
The JST Lord Nelson will be moored at the south end of the festival. Visitors in wheelchairs are advised to use the Middle Gate or the South Gate to access the event as there is a 96m long cobbled area towards the North Gate which some wheelchair users may find challenging to navigate.
The JST Lord Nelson will be operating restricted opening times of 10am to 11.30pm and 3pm to 6pm on Saturday and 10am to 12noon on Sunday, so visitors are advised to arrive early to go aboard this ship.
The Götheborg will be moored near the main stage between middle gate and south gate. Entrance fees to go aboard will be £6.50 for adults and £5 for children. Discounted family tickets for 1 adult and 3 children or 2 adults and 2 children will cost £20. Unfortunately disabled access is not available on The Götheborg.
Aileen Mobbs, Maritime Festival Chairman said: “It is a dream come true to have secured such a prestigious sailing ship as The Götheborg for Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival, made possible by funding support from the new Greater Yarmouth Tourism and Business Improvement Area (GYTABIA). The Götheborg will be at the heart of a weekend of maritime celebration, with JST Nelson, other visiting ships, a busy international shanty singing programme and lots of demonstrations, hands-on activities and entertainment. We are enormously grateful to all our festival sponsors.”
The Maritime Festival sponsors are Seajacks UK Ltd, 3Sun Group, Bateman Groundworks, Birketts LLP, Bunn Fertiliser Ltd, ELM Contracts, e.on Climate & Renwables, HKB Wiltshire, Gardline, MDF Transport, Perenco, Persimmon Homes Anglia, Petrofac, Stevenson Smart and Wellington Construction. The festival is also supported by EastPort UK, Great Yarmouth Tourism and Business Improvement Area (GYTABIA) and Great Yarmouth Borough Council.
The Götheborg, which completed its maiden voyage in 2005-07, is a replica of the original Götheborg, which was built in 1738 at Terra Nova ship yard, in Stockholm, for the Swedish East India Company (Svenska Ostindiska Companiet), and was used for three lucrative voyages between Sweden and China.
The ship dramatically sank on 12 September 1745, in Gothenburg harbour, returning from her third China voyage. She ran aground on a notorious submerged rock, the Hunnebådan (known as the Knipla Börö in the 18th century), right in front of merchants and family members, waiting to welcome the crew and its cargo home.
In 1984 a number of exploratory dives to the shipwreck took place, and an ambitious dream was born to reconstruct The Götheborg to 100% scale, using traditional 18th century ship building skills, methods and materials, but complying with the very latest technological advances for navigation, cooking, heating and hygiene.
Nineteen years after the first dive, including the reconstruction of the original shipyard to carry out much of the work, the new Götheborg was launched in 2003, and finally set sail in October 2005 on a two-year expedition to China, commemorating the maiden voyage of the original Götheborg