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Portaferry Sails & Sounds: Classic Boat and Music Festival

by Gary Lyons 27 Feb 2016 19:38 GMT 17-19 June 2016
Portaferry Sails & Sounds will be held in June © Gary Lyons

On 'The Narrows', the river like opening of Strangford Lough, where tides rip through at 6 knots daily, lies the town of Portaferry. A picturesque, traditional County Down market town, famous for its boatbuilding heritage and regular ferry service across to its partner across the Lough, Strangford Town.

Traditional Sailing and music are no strangers to this area; for many years, the annual 'Portaferry Hooker Regatta' set the bar for classic yachts and traditional boat regattas north of the border, and the town echoed to the sounds of laughter, traditional Irish music and dancing. Something which has been missing for a few years since its demise.

This is all now set to change; Portaferry Sails & Sounds will bring back these essential elements of the Portaferry-style traditional sailing regatta, but for a more modern era. The Northern Ireland Old Gaffers Association has teamed up with Portaferry Sailing Club to re-invent the traditional sailing regatta. Street theatre, busking competitions, a brand new town-wide, multi-venue music festival, classic car displays, Irish Dancing exhibitions, farmer's markets, art and craft exhibitions, historical re-enactments - and these are not even the main events! We hope to enjoy the company of the cream of Irish, Isle of Man, Scottish, English and Welsh traditional sailing yachts and working craft. Racing, parades of sail and Skiff racing will provide a spectacle to behold on the world famous beautiful waters of Strangford Lough.

Due to the central geographical position of Strangford Lough we are within a convenient catchment area for almost all ports and marinas on the entire Irish Sea coast. It is this ease of access which should make Portaferry Sails & Sounds the biggest and best Classic Boat Regatta this summer; that and the guaranteed good weather County Down is famous for!