Geldof's Sail 8 flotilla flops with only four ships

4th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, July 3 (AFP) - A day after Bob Geldof's dazzling Live 8 concerts, his tie-in Sail 8 appeared a total disaster as just four boats -- carrying a grand total of zero demonstrators -- made it back to Britain from France.

LONDON, July 3 (AFP) - A day after Bob Geldof's dazzling Live 8 concerts, his tie-in Sail 8 appeared a total disaster as just four boats -- carrying a grand total of zero demonstrators -- made it back to Britain from France.

Participants admitted the stunt, designed to aid masses of continental protesters to reach the G8 summit demonstrations in Edinburgh, "didn't work" and was "disappointing".

Geldof had been due to welcome the incoming armada but cancelled his planned appearance at Portsmouth harbour on the southern English coast.

The Irish singer-turned activist had urged people to sail to northern France "in their thousands" and bring activists back to Britain to press world leaders into doing more to end poverty in Africa at their annual summit in Gleneagles, northwest of Edinburgh, this week.

He even stirred up the Dunkirk spirit, recalling the hundreds of thousands of troops rescued from France by a huge flotilla during World War II.

It was only on Tuesday when the waters off Portsmouth were brimming with some of the finest military hardware going when Britain's Queen Elizabeth II inspected the fleet, Britain's largest peace-time naval review in history.

Sunday's scenes were an embarrassment in comparison as three yachts and a motor boat idled in to dock.

Sail 8 spokesman Don Brind admitted: "It is disappointing. You have to try things. Some work, but others do not, and we have to concede that this didn't.

"Still, being positive, this was a valuable contribution to the Live 8 events," he maintained.

Brind said many other yachts had set off for Cherbourg on Friday and Saturday, but gave up in the face of foul weather, Britain's domestic Press Association news agency reported.

But he had no explanation as to why not one single person in continental Europe turned up for the free trip back.

"All we could do was provide the opportunity, and, for whatever reason, it wasn't taken up," he said.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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