Acting on a hunch that the Australian tall ship ‘Young Endeavour’ would be coming up the river about lunch time, we had booked a table at the Cutty Sark pub (very appropriate) down near Ballast Quay. The first floor dining room has a splendid bow-fronted riverside window just the ideal place for lunch and look-out. Our patience was rewarded as the rather diminutive two-masted vessel approached up Blackwall Reach. She was ‘dressed overall’ with unusual bright pennants streaming out in the wind – all rather pretty!
I summoned a brave party to rush out onto the riverside terrace and greeted her with loud ‘Ahoy’ cheers. Any rate, it pleased me as a form of excited admiration – it’s extremely rare to see a ship sailing in from Sydney!! Somewhat inspired by the event, I had produced a set of postcards to be gifted to the crew as a memento of their visit. By chance I was able to present them to the ship’s captain on our visit to St. Katharine’s Dock the very next day.
Tabled at ‘Starbucks’ coffee house overlooking ‘Young Endeavour’, I was explaining to our camera man the extent of her global voyage around Cape Horn some 6,000 miles across the Pacific. A gentleman at the next table kindly interjected to clarify my remarks – he being the skipper!! Just then, Admiral Snelson (the ex-PLA harbour master) joined the discussion as well as the senior executive of the Tall Ship Association – an instant gathering which I hope is on film!
Following this jolly occasion, we struggled up Tower Hill to film the Merchant Navy memorial in Trinity Square – a most sobering event as I demonstrated to camera the bronze panels commemorating lost ships, crews and home ports spelt out for all to see; the devastation of our fishing and collier fleets from the NE coast during WW1 and a separate garden memorial to those who perished in WW2 and, more recently, in the Falklands too. The vast Portland stone HQ edifice of the PLA’s former HQ rather dominated the handsome Trinity House next door – good old clients both!!
Sail Training Ship ‘Young Endeavour’
Australia’s national training ship was a bicentennial gift from the UK dedicated ‘to the benefit of the young people of Australia’. Her home base is in Sydney and she operates mostly on the east coast of Australia but has circumnavigated the continent twice and sailed around the world once before. This voyage across the Pacific, around the Horn, up the S. American coast, into the Mediterranean and up to celebrate the Anzac celebrations at Gallipoli this year – she has called at London prior to sailing with the Tall Ship Fleet into the Baltic. Her young crew change regularly and is supplemented by more experienced crew if required. We wish her well – Bon Voyage!