In 2002 Irish Sea Shipping had some rather harsh words to say about the Mersey River Festival.
The 2003 Festival held over the weekend of June 13 - 16 represented a dramatic sea change from that which was commented on last year.
Whilst I wasn't able to spend as much time at the Albert Dock over the weekend as I had done in 2002, due to the fact that I was on the Lady of Mann's "Round The Isle of Man Cruise" I did make some evening visits on the Thursday, Friday and also early Saturday morning.
How refreshing it was to see some new vessels and some vessels which have not visited for a while, berthed in the docks. The some of the first time visitors included MATTHEW and the west country ketch BESSIE ELLEN whilst some less frequent visitors to the Mersey such as ASGARD II and GRAND TURK made a welcome return.
Sunday saw me over at Monk's Ferry photographing the LADY OF MANN approach and enter A&P Birkenhead, however, whilst waiting for the LADY I was able to observe the Parade of Sail off the Canning entrance.
Given the record numbers that the Festival attracted this year it appears to have deservedly been a great success and I take back the criticisms that were levelled in 2002.
Her is to next year's festival. Though given the large crowds attending this year I think the serious enthusiast intending to obtain some decent photographs would be better ensuring they get there early!
John H. Luxton
June 18, 2003