Festival goers given a chance to sail on a P2000

Visitors to a boat festival were given the chance to sail on and have tours of two of the Royal Navy’s P2000s.

HMS Smiter and HMS Blazer were in London for Totally Thames – an event celebrating arts and culture along the river.

As part of their time in St Katherine’s Docks, the boats were open to the public and nearly 1,500 people got to have a look around and learn about what they do.

The three-day event also gave the embarked University Royal Navy Unit (URNU) students the chance to explain their roles on the P2000s.

While HMS Blazer remained alongside for tours, HMS Smiter took visitors up and down the River Thames - passing under Tower Bridge and giving spectacular views of the city.

Blazer Officer Cadet Rob Cooley, on board for the first time, said: “I really enjoyed the chance to talk to people about what we do and I learned a few things about the ship myself.”

Lieutenant Lewis Jones, HMS Smiter’s commanding officer, added: “The Classic Boat Festival has been a great experience and it has been a pleasure to host a variety of people on board.”

HMS Smiter welcomed sea cadets, Royal Naval Reservists from HMS president, potential recruits, Metropolitan Police officers and members of the Friends of St Katherine’s Dock on board.

I really enjoyed the chance to talk to people about what we do and I learned a few things about the ship myself.

Officer Cadet Rob Cooley, HMS Blazer

For many, it was their first time on a P2000 – a training ship which provides naval experience and training to Officer Cadets

Claire Davies, events manager at St Katherine’s Dock, said: “I am amazed at the compact living arrangements but HMS Smiter has a charming character as a small vessel. I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience on board.”

Held during September, Totally Thames is an annual event with arts and culture activities taking place on, beneath and along the 42-mile stretch of the River Thames.

The Classic Boat Show was opened by the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Collingwood who marched through the marine and played throughout to visitors throughout the day.

Band Director Captain Tom Crane said: “It was a pleasure to open the Classic Boat Festival and to be in the unique location at Marble Quay with a back drop of all the visiting classic boats.”