Langstone Cutters has been invited to send two boats, the Solent galley Bembridge and Clayton skiff Mabel, to the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Pageant, a flotilla of a thousand boats going down the Thames from Richmond to Tower Bridge on June 3.
Time to break out the bunting that was last used to dress my grandparents' launch to celebrate the Coronation.
It looks set to be a great occasion, bringing rowers together from all over the country including Ullapool Coastal Rowing Club who will be bringing their St Ayles Skiff Ulla from the north of Scotland. It will be great to meet up with them.
The Queen will be riding in style in a Royal Barge converted from a pleasure boat, the Spirit of Chartwell, decorated to a design by film and TV designer Joseph Bennett. This caused raised eyebrows in the stuffier papers, but there is a precedent - the most lavish and impressive Royal Barge in history was designed by William Kent, not a boatbuilder but a sign painter before turning to furniture design and architecture.
His State Barge is preserved in the National Maritime Museum.
The ideal Royal Barge for the Diamond Jubilee would be a new rowing boat, designed by Lord Linley with Iain Oughtred, and crewed by the Royal Watermen and Doggett's Coat and Badge winners in their regalia, but there would be tedious security objections. The Spirit of Chartwell will have to do.