04:46AM, Friday 14 June 2013
Boat lovers looking forward to a fabulous view of the Queen's royal barge Gloriana at this weekend's Windsor Coronation Regatta are in for a disappointment.
The 94 ft million pound row barge built to mark the Diamond Jubilee was due to make a star appearance at the two day event this weekend, having proved a hit when it featured among the 1,000 strong flotilla of boats in last year's jubilee pageant.
But at 7pm on Thursday night it hit Kew Bridge near Richmond after its engines failed in the heavy winds and it became wedged under the central span of the bridge.
Its now famous wooden crown on the stern was knocked into the river. Then the Chiswick RNLI lifeboat called out to rescue it ended up colliding with it causing more damage.
Yesterday the chairman of the Windsor regatta Phil Jarratt, deputy senior warden at Windsor Castle said: "Everyone is devastated that the Gloriana now would not be able to make it. Many people were coming down specially."
It would have added a final touch of grandeur to the first regatta to be held on the Thames at Windsor Castle for 44 years. It honours the 60th anniversary of the Coronation and runs this Saturday and Sunday with crews racing side by side over a 1,000 metre distance between Prince Albert and Queen Victoria bridges.
The regatta, sponsored by Samsung, will see 150 separate crews taking part over both days. Boats of all shapes and sizes including traditional wooden skiffs will take part with a race every four minutes.
A specially commissioned winner’s medal will commemorate it.
The Queen has given permission for visitors to watch the race from private areas of the Home Park. But entry is by pre-booked ticket only.
The river path along the Datchet bank between the bridges provides a good chance to see the regatta for free.
The finish can also be clearly seen from Victoria Bridge.
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