David's thinking big with his little ships

Andover Advertiser: David Ritchie of Miniports is planning to sail to Ryde in his miniships in aid of Chernobyl charity David Ritchie of Miniports is planning to sail to Ryde in his miniships in aid of Chernobyl charity

A destroyer, a ferry and police boat sailing in convoy across the Solent are bound to attract attention – especially when the craft in question are only four metres long.

The mini ships – 1:25 scale models which normally ply the secure waters of the Miniport’s pools at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and Gunwharf Quays – are being allowed out for a special a voyage to Ryde on the Isle of Wight in aid of the charity, Chernobyl Children's Life Line.

Next Monday’s (July 7) sponsored cruise is the idea of Miniport’s MD, David Ritchie (pictured above) from Romsey, who said: “We designed, built and operate these charming little ships ourselves so we know what they are capable of, but they have never left the safety of the boating lakes before! Crossing an open shipping lane and ferry routes will be an interesting challenge.”

The electric-powered craft, part of the 13-strong Miniport fleet, were designed in Romsey with the help of a naval architect and have an effective range of 15 miles – more than enough to make it to Ryde – but they will be escorted on their voyage by two back-up vessels provided by Mendez Marine Ltd.

Only one thing can stop the flotilla – waves of more than one foot high.

If the seas are too rough, David will postpone the trip to the next day or put his plan B into action, to head up river to Fareham Creek, which is roughly the same distance away from his start point at the dockyard as Ryde.

David hopes to raise £1,000 for Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline, which brings child victims of the nuclear disaster over to the UK for four-week breaks. More than 46,000 children have come to stay with host families since the charity started in 1992. C hildren on holiday visited the Miniport boat hire attraction in Gunwharf Quays last year and made such an impression on staff there that they decided to organise some fundraising for them. To sponsor the event go to just giving.com/miniport.

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