People joining the cruise on the Cowes-based Wight Scene will be welcomed aboard by the Isle of Wight’s most decorated RNLI coxswain, Dave Kennett MBE, and receive a glass of bubbly. As the vessel cruises in the Solent there will be a cream tea and dancing to Chick Cole.
A major highlight will be the chance for guests to meet, and have photographs taken with, Islanders who have represented Britain in past Olympics. The most senior of these is Major Barrington-Ward, who four years after carrying the Olympic flame for two miles at the 1948 London Olympic Games was a crew member on a Dragon at the Helsinki Games.
Also among the Olympians will be Jo Richards, a bronze medalist in the Flying Dutchman dinghy class in the 1984 games. Another sailor from the same games will be Pete Newlands who competed in the 470 dinghy class. Also hoping to be present is the double sailing gold medalist, Shirley Robertson, (the 2000 Sydney Games in the Europe class and 2004 Athens Games in the Yngling class).
Another gold medalist from the Sydney games is Louis Attrill, a member of the rowing eight, who was first introduced to the activity by Shanklin Rowing Club. The gold medal Para-Olympian, Andy Cassell, has a standing invitation should other engagements allow him to attend.
The cruise takes place in the same week when yachts from many countries will be taking part in the Cowes-based Eight-Metre Worlds event, being organised by the Royal Yacht Squadron. During his 23 years as a crew member of Yarmouth lifeboat (20 of them as coxswain) David Kennett was awarded in 1975 the RNLI’s coveted silver medal for a challenging mid-Channel rescue of five policemen. The following year he was voted ‘Britain’s Man of the Year’.
Wight Scene (a large catamaran with three decks) will leave Thetis Wharf, Cowes, on Wednesday 18 July, starting at 4 pm and ending at 6 pm. Tickets cost £25, which can be obtained from the Cowes RNLI shop or Murrays Restaurant in the High Street or by phoning Diana Chillcott on 281759.