A Douglas-based yacht and local crew will take part in a huge flotilla on the river Clyde in Glasgow next weekend to celebrate the opening of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
A total of 250 yachts from as far afield as Portugal will parade down the river from Greenock into the centre of the city on Saturday, July 26.
Manx resident Bill Chacksfield, a retired businessman who is vice commodore of Douglas Bay Yacht Club, is sailing his 38-foot sailing yacht ‘Nexus’ from the island to join the parade along with three crew-mates from Douglas.
He said: ‘I’m really excited to be representing the Isle of Man and Douglas Bay Yacht Club. I have the biggest Manx flag you can imagine, which I’ll be flying from the rigging, and a Manx registration number on the sails.
‘It will be great to fly the flag both for the island and for our Games team. We also have a pair of viking ravens on the mainsail, which I got from a guy on the island who picked them up at the Danish Museum. Everybody will know where we come from!’
Organised by the Royal Yachting Association in Scotland, the flotilla will be the largest in the history of the River Clyde. Between 10am and 2pm on Saturday, July 26, the fleet will progress from the James Watt Marina in Greenock and travel 32 kilmetres to Pacific Quay in the heart of Glasgow city centre.
Bill explained how he got involved in the event: ‘I read about the flotilla online and half the places had gone within the first day or two, so I applied to take part and was lucky enough to be accepted. There’s now a waiting list of about 60 boats wanting to join in if anybody drops out. Because we are sailing from the island they asked me to become a featured boat, which means people can track our progress online.’
‘I’m sure it’ll be an amazing experience, going up the Clyde in company with 250 boats. If there are four people on each boat there will be a thousand people taking part,’ continued Bill, ‘But I think there will be more like six or eight per boat, so there could be up to two thousand people participating. And I think the party the night before will be memorable.’
Nexus’ Scottish credentials will be boosted by crew Ruth Lea and the husband and wife team of David Gillies and Christine Tautari. Ruth is from Orkney, while David hails from Harthill in Lanarkshire.
The crew plan to leave Douglas on July 22 and head offshore from Peel to Portpatrick in south west Scotland the next day, stopping at Troon before joining the flotilla at Greenock, sailing a distance of around 165 nautical miles in four days.