20 NAVY NEWS, OCTOBER 2008
AFTER last month’s appearance at the Tall Ship’s parade in Liverpool and Meet
Your Navy in Portsmouth, the spotlight continued to focus on HMS Argyll.
The frigate was named as guardship for the four-day Dartmouth Regatta,
the annual festival of sail in the shadow of the alma mater of the naval officer
She wasn’t the sole RN asset on display. The Flying Tigers (814 NAS) sent a
Merlin to perform a ten-minute show over the Devonshire town and the Black
Cats, the RN’s Lynx display team, also dropped in.
Once again this summer, the British weather did throw a spanner in the works,
causing some aerial displays (including a parachute jump) to be cancelled.
And the RAF muscled in on RN ‘home turf’ by dispatching (1) the Battle
of Britain memorial flight to raise the curtain on the regatta, (2) a Eurofighter
Typhoon for a demonstration of raw – and roar – power and (3) the Red Arrows
to wow crowds on the busiest day of the festival.
That’s enough of the Crabs, for they weren’t the only ones making noise
in Dartmouth. Argyll fired an 11-gun salute as she arrived on the river, before
opening her decks to the public, who arrived by passenger boat from the shore.
More than 2,000 people made the trip, while Sea Cadets were treated to guided
The regatta transforms an otherwise fairly sleepy coastal
town into a hustling, bustling trap for tourists and
Not all the sporting activity occurs on
the Dart, however. An all-ranks tug of war
team headed ashore and almost lifted the
trophy, coming second of 16 sides hauling
On a more formal level, Argyll hosted an
official dinner for dignitaries, plus a flight deck
reception for local VIPs.
After a high-profile drugs bust (see page 6), the
ship is now off the west coast of Scotland for NATO war games
before paying her first visit to her affiliated city of Glasgow.
Back on the south coast, another regatta hosted not one but two vessels:
HMS Tyne and RFA Mounts Bay. Both were in the Cornish port of Fowey (as
were the Red Arrows), with landing craft ferrying tourists out to the auxiliary – at
16,000 tons she’s far too large to come alongside.
Meanwhile in Wales... There was no regatta for HMS Cornwall, just three
well-deserved days at Cardiff’s Britannia Quay – a visit which coincided with Sea
Sunday, a celebration/commemoration of the lives of seafarers.
Cornwall also opened her gangway to visitors and invited local Sea Cadets
on board for a tour.
And let’s not forget Northern Ireland. The Sea Cadets certainly didn’t as they
staged their national regatta in Carrickfergus... something which demanded a
sizeable RN presence.
Survey ship HMS Enterprise – recently seen in Belfast Bay – was the largest,
if not necessarily loudest, Senior Service asset on show.
For a start, the Commando Display Team showed the good folk of Northern
Ireland the art of unarmed combat.
And their musical comrades were in action throughout the weekend. The
Corps of Drums performed at Bangor’s Clifton School before a full RM Band
staged a concert in the town’s conference centre for Seafarers UK and the Sea
A wave from an aircrewman as a Merlin from the Flying Tigers That wasn’t the end to the Corps’ musical input at the regatta; there were two ●
performs in rather murky skies over Britannia Royal Naval College daytime concerts to perform before a Beat Retreat brought the curtain down on
during Dartmouth Regatta Picture: Lt Chris Simpson, 814 NAS the festival, accompanied by a firework and laser display.
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