The launching of Grand Turk in Marmaris Turkey on 12 August 1997 was the realisation of a childhood dream for Surrey boat builder Michael Turk. She was the first wooden British frigate to be built for more than 150 years. The Turk family built a ship for the "defence of the realm" in London in 1295 and have been building ships and boats ever since. The present company was founded in Kingston upon Thames in 1710.
In September 1997 she sailed to Crimean Coast of the Black Sea for the filming of the first series of Hornblower. In the spring of 1998 she sailed to the Portuguese Atlantic coast for the second part of the filming. Later that year she returned to St Katharines Haven in London which became her home port.
In August 1998 Grand Turk she was the focal attraction at the International Festival of the Sea in Portsmouth. This event attracts ships from all over Europe and was repeated in August 2001. In May 1999 she was the main attraction at Chatham Navy Days which is held at The Historic Dockyard. In July 1999 she starred in the Granada Film production of Longitude, the fascinating story of Harrisons quest to design and build a marine chronometer. In September 1999 she was the centre piece attraction at the Southampton Boat Show.
Her rising celebrity status had not gone unnoticed, in particular it had caught the eye of The National Trust. Between May & August 2000, Grand Turk undertook a 14 port 3,000 mile circumnavigation of the United Kingdom on behalf of The National Trust "Neptune Coastline Campaign". Enterprise Neptune is the arm of the National Trust responsible for the acquisition and protection of endangered coastline. During the voyage more than 75,000 visitors came to the ship to learn about the work of the Trust and also to get a taste of what it was like to work and live on one of Nelson's fighting ships. In June she made a detour to France to attend the Brest Festival 2000, which attracted around 3,000 ships from all over the world.
Appropriately enough, in November 2000 Grand Turk was commissioned to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Nelson's return to Great Yarmouth after the battle of the Nile. Nelson landed at Gorleston on 5 November 1800 to a heroes welcome. This event was faithfully re enacted to the delight of massive crowds.
In May of 2001 Grand Turk made her first visit to the Maritime Festival at Ostend. The summer saw visits to Ipswich, Hull, Whitby, Dover, Poole and Great Yarmouth. In July she undertook one of her most unusual tasks when she was used as a television platform to cover a cross channel swim by a Chinese man. The pictures were sent via satellite to China where the swim was watched on live TV by a massive audience.
2002 saw visits to Boulogne, Calais, Ramsgate, Ostend, Whitby, Poole, Dunkerque, Le Treport, Caen, Dover, Portsmouth and Great Yarmouth. In August Grand Turk went to St Malo where she was used in the film Monsieur N. This film was made by a French production company and covered the latter years of the life and subsequent death of Napoleon.
In 2003 Grand Turk visited Chatham, Ramsgate, Ostend, Bangor Northern Ireland, Liverpool, Falmouth, Rouen, Scarborough and Great Yarmouth. During the year it was decided to move Grand Turk from her winter base at St Katharines Haven in London to her new home port in Whitby North Yorkshire.
In 2004 Grand Turk travelled from Whitby to Scarborough, Ramsgate, Chatham, Calais, Dunkerque, Boulogne, Ostend, Dublin, Liverpool, Bangor and Brest. During her time in Calais and Dunkerque Grand Turk was used for the filming of the BBC drama To The Ends Of The Earth.
Prior to sailing from Whitby in April 2005, Grand Turk was used for the filming of an episode of BBC Countryfile and a programme for BBC 4 about Olaudah Equiano who was an African slave in the 18C who spent much of his life working on British naval ships. Thereafter she visited Ramsgate, Ostend, Barrow, Liverpool, Silloth, Maryport, Poole Portsmouth and Chatham.
The visit to Portsmouth was on the occasion of Trafalgar 200 and the Royal Fleet Review to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the victory of Admiral Lord Nelson at the battle of Trafalgar. On the morning of 28 June, Grand Turk had the honour of taking part in the procession during the Fleet Review led by HMS Endurance carrying HM The Queen. In the evening Grand Turk had the further honour of leading the Son et Lumiere display as HMS Victory in a re-enactment of the Battle of Trafalgar.
[ Grand Turk ]
For further details or to arrange to view, please contact Adrian Espin at: - Astonbury Marine Services
19 Colne Road, Brightlingsea, Essex, CO7 0DL Tel: 01206 305 996 or +44 1206 305 996
or email to: adrian@EasternYachts.com
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