Hundreds disappointed as Sail Royal Greenwich flotilla fails to reach Greenwich
EAGER crowds were left disappointed today when tall ships launching a sailing festival turned back early.
The Sail Royal Greenwich flotilla never actually reached Greenwich at all, leaving hundreds of people near the Cutty Sark deflated.
As part of the launch, attended by leader of Greenwich Council Councillor Chris Roberts, the newly refurbished Cutty Sark had been due to receive a special salute from the 16 tall ships, accompanied by 200 smaller vessels.
Spectator Leila Haddou, 25, said some people had waited two hours to see the ships before they realised that they would not be coming.
She said: "You could see them just coming round The O2 and they they turned around and went back.
"It was like a game of peek-a-boo."
A spokeswoman said the decision to turn back had been due to "safety and security reasons".
She explained the tides had been running too strongly, making it dangerous for the ships to turn, particularly with the close proximity of Navy ship HMS Ocean, stationed off Greenwich for Olympics security.
The spokeswoman said: "We do appreciate a lot of people turned out in the Greenwich area to spectate and we do sincerely apologise that they were disappointed."
She stressed that there would still be plenty of chances to see the ships, with five cruises planned each day on the river until the event ends on August 12.
For information on the event visit royalgreenwich.gov.uk/sail and or to book cruises go to sailroyalgreenwich.co.uk