Solent’s boating community welcomes HRH Princess Royal to its Platinum Jubilee celebration

The Solent’s sailing and yachting community came together to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee at Cowes on 6 August, attended by HRH The Princess Royal. 

The spectacular showcase of more than 400 boats in The Solent gave a right Royal welcome to the Princess and her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, in recognition of the support the Royal Family has given to the Solent’s sailing community over the last 70 years. 

The event featured a motorpast review of all the boats by the Princess, who led the way in the first of five Wetwheels’ powerboats carrying VIP guests from the Solent’s sailing community. The Princess is Patron of the Wetwheels charity, which provides barrier-free boating opportunities to disabled people. 

HRH then performed a Fleet Review from the deck of the Royal Navy’s HMW SEVERN Offshore Patrol Vessel. Among the fleet was an impressive line-up of historic ships, including four Dunkirk Little Ships – Tahilla, Papillon, Maimonide and Naiad Errant; two historic yachts – Sir Francis Chichester’s Gipsy Moth IV and Suhaili – with owner Sir Robin Knox-Johnston on board.  

In addition, there were two sail training vessels – Scaramouche and Challenger 72 – 22m and Bluebottle, a wedding gift to HM The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh from the Island Sailing Club. 

HRH Princess Royal greets Paul Strzelecki a trustee of the Wetwheels Foundation on arrival at Cowes

This review was accompanied by a thrilling air display by a ‘City of Exeter’ Spitfire, courtesy of the Spitfire Academy at Goodwood. Music and entertainment followed at a free concert held at Cowes Yacht Haven. 

Chair of the organising committee, Jonathan Nainby-Luxmoore, said: “The Solent Platinum Jubilee Celebration was a truly memorable day and it was a real privilege to have HRH The Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence taking the salute at the motorpast from the guardship HMS SEVERN.  

“The Solent was ablaze with bunting and flags and the weather was perfect. We could not have asked for a better day for our tribute to HM The Queen for her Platinum Jubilee. 
“Thank you to everyone who took part, ashore and afloat, to Wetwheels for leading the motorpast, and the army of people who made it all happen. A true coming together of all the clubs and classes whose sailing home is the Solent.” 

Hampshire yachtsman Geoff Holt MBE, founder of the Wetwheels charity and a member of the organising committee, said: “We are absolutely delighted that the Solent Platinum Jubilee Celebration was such a success. It was a very moving day for me personally, not only seeing five Wetwheels vessels who had come from far and wide to be with us on our special day, but to have the honour of leading the review with our Patron, The Princess Royal and her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, on the deck of Wetwheels Solent.  

“Every boat we passed greeted us with three cheers and enthusiastic waving. The Princess was delighted and exchanged greetings with many of the crews we passed. It was a once in a lifetime moment and sailors across the region did The Solent proud.  

“At one point, there was line for boats, three abreast, stretching from Cowes back to Osborne Bay, it was a fantastic spectacle and I was thrilled that Wetwheels was at the heart of the day. 

“Huge thanks to everyone who took the trouble to come and join us on the water and to the many hundreds who lined the foreshore on both East and West Cowes.” 

Wetwheels was the chosen charity for the event. To donate, please visit 

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