Fairy tale trip recalled
Taking part in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee was the stuff of fairy tales, says Marlborough Boys' College rowing coach Bill Campbell.
"It was all whales, castles, princesses and a Queen," he said.
Mr Campbell was one of many speakers giving their "Swiftsure story" during a function at Drylands Restaurant on Monday night.
The Swiftsure was a replica whaling skiff built by Picton man Ron Perano and rowed by six Marlborough Boys' College students in a 1000-boat flotilla in London as part of the royal celebration in June.
It was the only New Zealand-built boat to take part, Mr Campbell said.
Their trip was being documented in a new display at the Marlborough Museum, Mr Campbell said.
"The boys will go down in history," he said. "It's great that the Marlborough Historical Society got on board and saw the benefits of this."
The boys wanted to be first under Tower Bridge, he said.
"They love rowing and they love winning so it was hard to keep them back."
By the time they reached the docks, the crew had been on the water for 10 hours.
College student Hayden Beavis said he loved every minute of the trip, from seeing two Ferraris on the streets of London to their "rally driver" cabbie.
But spotting a solitary Kiwi flag in a sea of Union Jacks during the pageant was a special moment, he said.
"In the next couple of days, these people came up to us and said, ‘Did you see our flag?' That was pretty cool."
"To be chosen from a little town like Blenheim to represent New Zealand in a flotilla of 1000 boats was overwhelming. My dad always says I won't appreciate it until I'm older, so we'll see because I already think it was pretty amazing."
Mr Perano thanked the Marlborough community for helping to send his boat and crew to London.
The former whaler remembered the generosity of one man who wrote two cheques, one for $1500 and another for $2000, towards the trip.
- The Marlborough Express
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