Scotland

Glasgow 2014: Boats muster in Greenock ahead of flotilla

Alba Endeavour Image copyright Rya
Image caption The Alba Endeavour will lead the flotilla up the Clyde

About 250 boats are beginning to gather in Greenock ahead of the Commonwealth Flotilla up the Clyde to Glasgow.

Small ships, clippers, yachts and working boats will muster at James Watt Dock.

On Saturday they will sail 17 nautical miles to Pacific Quay, watched by hundreds of spectators.

Boats have travelled from Lerwick, Wales, the Isle of Man and Ireland to join the flotilla which is part of a cultural events to celebrate the Games.

The Royal Yachting Association Scotland (RYA Scotland) organised the flotilla.

Chief Executive James Stuart said: "The response from people wanting to take part was overwhelming, and we want as many as possible to join us for the grand departure at the Beacon in Greenock, or Riverside Museum in Glasgow, which will provide a fantastic viewing opportunity to get a real sense of the size and scale of the event."

One of the boats taking part is Levingtonlass - a Nicholson 35 yacht.

The event marks a return to his old stomping ground for owner Andy Gallacher, 72, who was born in Partick and, as a boy of 12 selling newspapers on the docks, dreamed of going to sea.

He later joined the Merchant Navy as a deckhand before embarking on a 30-year career in the fire brigade. He has also sailed in yachts to the Arctic and to Australia and New Zealand.

Mr Gallacher, now of Conway, North Wales said: "I nearly missed out on this trip because I dropped a washer into the engine and it's taken me two weeks to dismantle and put back together.

"I'm looking forward to sailing up the Clyde. When I was 12 there were no pleasure boats because the river was so polluted but now it's so clean."

Image copyright RYA
Image caption Levingtonglass owner Andy Gallacher will be joined by his brother who has flown in from Canada to take part
Image copyright RYA
Image caption Steel Pulse is sailing from Ireland to join the flotilla

The flotilla will set sail from Custom House in Greenock at 10:00 on Saturday and travel up the Clyde, past the Riverside Museum to Pacific Quay where they are due to arrive at about 13:00.

Environment and regeneration convener at Inverclyde Council, Councillor Michael McCormick, said: "The James Watt Dock Marina is perfectly placed to play host, offering accommodation for boats in sheltered waters, and is a perfect day's journey by river to Glasgow."

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