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A 22,000km cruise to see the Queen

Karen and Rob Oberg in soggy London for the jubilee river pageant.
Karen and Rob Oberg in soggy London for the jubilee river pageant. CONTRIBUTED

RAIN, hail or abysmal London grey, there was no way this world-wandering Ipswich couple was going to miss the royal event of a lifetime.

Former Queensland Times marketing manager Rob Oberg and wife Karen have been sailing the globe on various yachts for the past 18 months.

Their voyage conveniently led them to the Thames River and St Katherine Docks, which happened to be right in the thick of the action for the weekend's Queen's Jubilee Pageant.

Hundreds of thousands crowded the banks of the London river to see the historic parade, which also included a Guinness World Record-breaking 1000 boats.

Among them was the yacht Curious, on which Mr and Mrs Oberg had been travelling. It had just carried them from Gibraltar to London in time for the Jubilee.

Mr Oberg said Curious was included in an "avenue of sail" with other classic boats including Sir Francis Chichester's Gypsy Moth IV and Robin Knox-Johnson's Suhaili.

The vessels were all put on display in the dock at St Katherine Docks - a prime position for Sunday's pageant.

"Unfortunately we suffered what we're told by the locals is typical British bank holiday weekend weather - cold, wet and windy," Mr Oberg said.

"Despite this there were people sleeping out overnight right along the river to make sure they had the best views secured for the Sunday afternoon.

"Every walkway around the marina was jammed with people viewing the boats in the avenue.

"Many were patriotically dressed right royally for the occasion, and at the minimum almost everyone was carrying a Union Jack."

There was a huge cheer as the Tower Bridge's drawbridge was raised and the Queen's barge, The Spirit of Chartwell, came into view.

"Neither the rain or the cold dulled the crowds' enthusiasm, with all the boats roundly applauded, but the loudest cheers were definitely reserved for the appearance of the Queen and Royal Family," Mr Oberg said.

"We had a good view through the lock to the river and were able to watch the sail-past, and were right on the spot where the royal barge stopped and spun round before docking at St Katherine, where the Queen and official party disembarked.

"The roar as the last strains of the Royal Philharmonic's Land of Hope and Glory rang out in the pouring rain was incredibly moving - definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience."

Following the excitement of the Royal Jubilee, the Obergs will enjoy something of a reminder of the life they've left behind in Australia - their next destination is Ipswich, Suffolk.

If you have any photos of Ipswich's coronation party in 1953, please call the QT on 3817 1790.

Topics:  diamond jubilee queen elizabeth



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