This year’s Sutton Harbour Classic Boat Rally will see three iconic wartime boats coming to Plymouth, including a Dunkirk Little Ship built in Plymouth in 1938 and a WWI Motor Torpedo Boat.
Organisers of the Classic Boat Rally, which takes place from Friday 25 – Monday 28 July, have secured two Dunkirk Little Ships to attend along with a fully restored WWI Motor Torpedo Boat.
These three iconic boats will be among the many sail and motor boats arriving at Sutton Harbour for the Classic Boat Rally, including Luggers, Gaff Rigged Boats, Bermudan rigs and Schooners.
The Sutton Harbour Classic Boat Rally is now in its 27th year, and is once again being hosted by Sutton Harbour Holdings, which owns and operates the 5 Gold Anchor Sutton Harbour Marina.
Charlotte Malcolm, Commercial Marketing Manager for Sutton Harbour, added: “We are really looking forward to the return of the Classic Boat Rally, which is a highlight of our summer events calendar. With car parking on site and lots to see and do, from the Harbour Heritage Trail circular walk and visiting the National Marine Aquarium to the many cafes and restaurants dotted around the Harbour, the Classic Boat Rally is a great day out for all the family.”
The Dunkirk Little Ship Tom Tit was built by K.R.Skentelbery at his yard at Laira Bridge. The boat was involved in the bold evacuation of troops under siege at Dunkirk in WW2. Her involvement was the result of two brothers taking her without authority after an engine fire left her with only one working engine. They completed 16 trips ferrying troops to the waiting warships, and on their return to Ramsgate were congratulated by a Senior Naval Officer for their involvement.
The second Little Ship attending the Classic Boat Rally, Elvin, was built in Barton on Humber in 1937, and was responsible for the safe transportation of 33 troops through the minefields from Dunkirk to Ramsgate.
WWI Motor Torpedo Boat CMB9 has been completely restored by a marine surveyor who discovered it in a near wrecked state, but recognised its significance.
Built for the Royal Navy in 1916, the vessel saw action in 1917 at Zeebrugge, when she was called upon to rescue pilots who were shot down 10 miles off Nieuport and came under attack by four German torpedo boats.
Seven of the boats attending this year’s Classic Boat Rally are on the National Register of Historic Ships, and six are more than 100 years old, including the Devon Maid which celebrated her 100th birthday this year.
John Gallagher from Plymouth Classic Boat Rally Ltd said: “With the 70th anniversary of the D Day Landings, the centenary of the start of WW1, and the centenary of the coming together of Sutton, Stonehouse and Devonport to form Plymouth City, it is fitting to have these iconic wartime boats involved in the Rally, and I hope that visitors enjoy seeing them and learning about their fascinating history.”
This year’s Classic Boat Rally will be followed by the arrival of the French Classics on Tuesday 29 July. These boats will depart from Sutton Harbour for a 600km race to La Rochelle in France, which originally started in 1939 and was reintroduced as a biennial event in 2012, after a 30-year break.
For more information and the full programme of events visit www.experiencesuttonharbour.co.uk.