Ron Perano, 77, took his replica whaling boat and six junior rowers to London in June, 2012 and participated in the flotilla on the river Thames to mark the QUEEN'S

The Swiftsure replica was named best classic rowboat at the New Zealand Antique and Classic Boat Show in March
2012 , and Mr Perano has donated it to the Picton
Historical Museum. Part of the agreement with the museum is that he can take the Swiftsure to boat shows. He
started building the 9.7 metre replica open whale boat,
complete with harpoon, in recognition of his family's history of whaling in the
Marlborough Sounds. The boat is modelled after one in the Canterbury Museum and was
"just a bit of fun", said Mr Perano, but when he
found out about the Thames flotilla, he decided to enter. "I entered months ago, not knowing if it would be accepted until I
received a
message in the early hours of New Year's Day. "This is the only boat from New Zealand going, apart from a plastic waka located in Norway."

The Thames flotilla is to be the largest gathering on the river for 350 years, with 1000 vessels of historic significance from Commonwealth
countries around the world.
The boat
took eight weeks to reach London on a container ship and Mr Perano and another adult accompanied the squad of six rowers. Rowers were chosen from
those who d
idn't make the national squad for the 2012 World Rowing Junior Championship, which took place at the same time in Bulgaria.

The rowers would be helped along by 2 knots of tide and needed to row at four knots for 90 minutes to complete the seven nautical miles in formation.  Most
appropriately the regatta start
ed at Putney Pier, London, the suburb where James Hayter Jackson originated from
James Hayter Jackson's replica whaleboat, built by Ron Perano, participated in the flotilla on the river Thames to mark the