Ships from 36 different nations lined up 'nose to tail' in the Solent today for Trafalgar 200 International Fleet Review to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar

The Trafalgar 200 International Fleet Review to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar, which took place on the Solent today, was a truly historic occasion.

Nearly two hundred ships from 36 different nations including some of the world’s largest naval warships lined up in unison off Portsmouth for Her Majesty the Queen’s fleet review which commenced at 1300. The view down the Solent with aircraft carriers, submarines, military vessels, tall ships and every sort of yacht and powerboat that comes to mind lined up ‘nose to tail’ including the QEII was spectacular for the thousands of spectators who’d lined the shores of the Solent to witness the occasion.

As well as the thousands of spectator craft travelling from all parts of the globe for the event, a fleet of specially invited yachts including the likes of the recently restored Gipsy Moth IV, the late Sir Alec Rose’s Lively Lady and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s Suhali were privileged to be part of a special Fleet Review sailpast which took place after HM The Queen had completed her review of the ships aboard the Royal Navy’s Antarctic Ice Patrol vessel – HMS Endurance.

Yachting World’s editor Andrew Bray aboard his own yacht Firefly was also one of the specially invited participants. Commenting on the occasion Bray said: “Never before has there been so many ships gathered for an event such as this. It really is quite remarkable. I was fortunate to have taken part in Her Majesty the Queen’s Silver Jubilee fleet review 28 years ago but it was nothing like this. We’ve spent four hours bobbing around at anchor in not particularly pleasant rolling conditions awaiting our cue for the sailpast but I have to say it was well worth it. We’ve just completed the sailpast, dipped our ensign and we’re now heading back to Lymington.”

Fortunately despite the nasty, choppy conditions created by stiff the north-easterly breeze, the rain and thunderstorms held off until the middle of the afternoon. However, things were a bit damp and murky for the aerobatic displays and the son et lumier and simulated battle later in the evening.