Fixitor - voted best boat by visitors

Daphne - voted overall best boat by judges


The Thames Traditional Boat Rally returned at the weekend after a year's forced absence because of river conditions - and the weather brought out the crowds.

One of the stars of the rally was a the restored Fixitor, thought to date from 1900 which would make it the oldest racing motorboat in the world. Built as one of a number of so-called Reliability boats she is the only one still afloat.

Discovered as little more than a decayed hull at the boat jumble at an earlier rally by boatbuilders Stephen and Colin Messer she was bought for £400.

Colin said: "We were unsure what she was to begin with but her distinctive lines plus clues we discovered as we started work and then lots of research led us to determine exactly what she was."

On board for a trip at the rally was Ann Hawkins a previous owner when the boat had a cabin and who entered her for the very first traditonal boat rally in 1977. She said: "It was marvellous to see her restored into such a beautiful boat."

One of the themes of the rally was 100 years of Thames slipper launches. On display was a replica of the first one Merck, pictured below on Peter Freebody & Co stand.

The rally was hailed as a success by organisers who had spelt out the financial challenges facing the event's future. In programme notes they revealed it costs £63,000 to stage and they warned of a change in charges for next year.

Speaking at the end of the event, chairman Tony Goodhead said he was delighted with attendances.

He said: "My initial reaction is that we will have made a small profit which ensures the event for next year. After recent years it was a delight to have such good weather. And the attendances were very good on both days.

"Some visitors from Australia had timed their holiday in this country to coincide with the rally.

"It was also great to see around 25 boats that had never attended the rally before. They included a family who had brought their boat here by trailer all the way from Hamburg.

But Mr Goodhead appealed for more help from volunteers to keep the rally going. He said:"The commitment need not be great but we really could do with more volunteers to ensure the continuing success of the rally.

More pictures from 2013 rally

Link to Thames Trad Rally website

ITV report on the rally

Story dated July 22nd 2013

Maria ava Ranohamn brought to the rally from Hamburg

Elsie - winner trophy for ex-working boats
Attendances were good each day
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