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Olympic sailor Sir Ben Ainslie to be star of Buckler's Hard Yacht Harbour's 50th anniversary celebrations

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OLYMPIC sailor Sir Ben Ainslie is to star at an event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Buckler’s Hard Yacht Harbour and the end of its £2 million redevelopment.

The record-breaking yachtsman will open proceedings by sailing up the Beaulieu River in a scow to the marina.

When Sir Ben arrives, he will be presented with a certificate by Lord Montagu granting him ‘honorary freedom’ of the river.

Buckler's Hard will be celebrating its 50th birthday
Buckler's Hard will be celebrating its 50th birthday

Sir Ben will be joined at the celebrations by round-the-world yachtsman Sir Chay Blyth CBE BEM who performed the opening ceremony of the harbour 50 years ago when it had just been built.

Sir Chay said: “It was a privilege to be asked to perform the original opening and I am glad that in my lifetime, the Beaulieu River has kept its charm and is as special today as it was during my first visit over half a century ago. I am proud to be part of these celebrations to mark such a major new milestone.”

A traditional regatta will form part of the events at the ceremony, which is on August 14th.

There will also be a crabbing competition along with swimming and rowing ones, and a prize for the best dressed boat and crew will be awarded.

Sir Ben Ainslie
Sir Ben Ainslie

All the mooring and berth holders will be flying a limited-edition golden anniversary burgee which was designed by mooring holder Philip Dyke.

Joining them on the water will be members of the Beaulieu River Sailing Club, which was created 90 years ago by Lord Montagu’s grandmother Pearl.

Beaulieu Enterprises managing director Russell Bowman said: “This celebration begins the next chapter in Buckler’s Hard Yacht Harbour history, offering new and improved facilities for modern day sailing while preserving the natural beauty which has made this one of the most desired locations on the south coast.”

The redevelopment of the marina has resulted in 66 new berths being created along with larger ones to accommodate vessels up to 20m, upgraded electrical services, improved WiFI and a new visitor area.

The work was managed by Gosport based Marina Projects while the work was carried out by Fareham-based Walcon Marine who built the original marina.

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