Historic Voyages Home and Abroad

"This could be Endeavour's busiest year and the most ambitious," Paul Gilson told members of the management committee at their January meeting as he outlined plans to take the boat where she has never been before.

In June of this year it will be the 75th anniversary of Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of France which led to the end of World War II. The Dunkirk Little Ships have been invited to be escort two ships in the Solent as they leave Portsmouth for Normandy.

Later this year the boats have been asked to be part of the Belgian port of Antwerp's events to remember the town's liberation. Antwerp had been by-passed by the Allies as they pushed the German army back to the Rhine. It took until September 1944 to liberate the citizens.

Endeavour hopes to take part in both events which will be exciting first voyages for boat and crew. Paul explained: "These trips will take some organisation. They are long voyages involving sailing in waters we are not familiar with. We may have to split crews in order for everyone who wants to take part to be part of historic events."

Provisionally, the plan is for Endeavour to rendezvous with the ADLS boats at Ramsgate on May 27th. The fleet would then sail in convoy to either Eastbourne or Brighton and thence to Portsmouth with the chance to visit Itchenor, Beaulieu River and historic Buckler's Hard.

The boats will moor in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in Navy facilities with the chance to visit HMS Victory and the Mary Rose Museum. Crews and skippers will attend a reception aboard Victory on Saturday 2nd June. On June 2nd the boats will escort a commercial ferry with D-Day veterans heading to France leaving them at Nab Tower. The ADLS boats will then head to Cowes where they will sail past the Royal Yacht Squadron before mooring in their harbour. Ships will host RYS members aboard their boats.

The following day they will be guests of the RYS at a lunch and the next day will depart for home.

The Antwerp trip departs from Ramsgate on September 1 for Nieuport, Belgium and the next day will head through the canals to the beautiful city of Bruges. Boats will then proceed to Ghent and by September 5th or 6th will moor in Antwerp's Willemdock. On September 7th the boats will join a parade on the River Scheldt. It is possible the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will take part.

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