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Dazzling boat parade a Christmas cracker

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The organisers of the Christmas Boat Parade have expressed their delight with this year's event — the last time the original parade committee will run the popular spectacle.

Inspired by a similar event at Newport Beach, Norma Thomson has been organising the parade since 1998 but now hopes to pass it to another party. She said the Corporation of Hamilton was considering taking over and that she hoped it could become an annual event.

“It is a good fit for the Corporation,” she said. “We did it every other year because we are all business owners and this is voluntary.

“It really should be every year as it is such a magical event.

“The boats are lit up like precious jewels and people always have a good night.”

This year's overall winning boat was Sylvester, owned by Bill Pittman. The small craft was decorated with an Hello Kitty character complete with blinking eyes and a waving paw.

Cedar, the boat by Gosling's that included a seal spinning a barrel on its nose, came very close to winning but instead won the award in the sailing class.

More than 40 colourfully lit vessels took part in Hamilton Harbour. The America's Cup was a prominent feature throughout, with many of the boats dressed up in red, white and blue fairy lights.

The Royal Bermuda Regiment's entry stood out for its exquisitely detailed emblem.

Calico Jack's pirate ship made its first parade appearance and did not disappoint. The ship was decked out with displays of two Christmas trees and a skull and crossbones atop each mast.

The evening concluded with a spectacular fireworks display at about 8pm.

Ms Thomson said: “It was a great. We appreciate all the boats who come and make it work because you don't have an event if there is no participation from the boat owners and they put so much work into it.

“I am happy for Bill as he is a massive supporter and spends about six months on his theme each year. He has been entering since day one and this is the first time he has won best overall boat and he was ecstatic.”

• For more photographs, see the image gallery at the bottom of the homepage

Lighting up the night: the overall winning boat was Sylvester, which had a Hello Kitty character with waving paw and blinking eyes. The display also featured the America's Cup trophy and a Japanese flag (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Local flavour: sailboat Cedar impressed the judges with a Gosling's-themed seal and barrel creation (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Bermuda theme: the Restless Native had a Gombey (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Bye bye Rudolph: Santa swaps his reindeer for America's Cup catamarans (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Bright sparks: these passengers even had lights on their outfits (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Winter wonderland: a huge inflatable snowman dominated this festive effort (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Christmas cheer: Santa Claus shares the spotlight with the America's Cup 'Auld Mug' (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Cartoon pals: Olaf from Frozen and a festive Minion delighted young spectators (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Natural beauty: the entry from the Bermuda National Trust (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Cup fans: Team Artemis was the inspiration for this entry (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Fifty years strong: the Royal Bermuda Regiment celebrated its anniversary (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
'Spirits' of Bermuda: our sloop marked Bacardi's 50 years on the rock (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Holiday spirit: Santa Claus and friends wave to the crowd (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Island favourite: Bermuda's Tiny the Tree Frog waved to the crowd (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
<p>The winners</p>

Under 25ft: Halcyon

Over 25ft: Just Sayin

Sailboat class: Cedar

Fishing boat: Gabriella

Commercial boat: Ellen B

Corporate entry: Spirit of Bermuda

Charity/church: Playpen

Children’s choice: Playpen

Most original: Sheerwater

Most humorous: Checkmate

Best crew costume: Checkmate

Best America’s Cup theme: AC Endeavour

Best effort: Rowing Skulls 1 and 2

Best use of lights: Calico Jacks

Best Bermuda theme: Restless Native

Best fun to be aboard: Sun Deck 2

Best overall boat: Sylvester

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Published December 14, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated December 14, 2015 at 8:18 am)

Dazzling boat parade a Christmas cracker

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