July 3, 2005

Geldof sails to Live 8 glory, armada idea sinks

PORTSMOUTH, England (Reuters) - He pulled off the greatestrock concert ever staged.

But charity champion Bob Geldof's idea for an "armada" ofBritish vessels bringing French passengers to Britain to joinin anti-poverty demonstrations this week was a damp squib.

A total of 73 boats registered to cross from the Frenchcoast to British shores on Sunday, the day after more than 1million people heard Live 8 concerts in 10 venues worldwide.

In the end, only four boats arrived in the port town ofPortsmouth, and not a single passenger was on board.

"We're happy that the event has gone off," said Don Brind,putting a brave face on the turnout and naming the poor weatheras a factor. "It's helped with the publicity effort for 'MakePoverty History', which is the key thing," he told Sky News.

Live 8 was staged in partnership with Make Poverty History,a campaign that aims to halve world poverty by 2015.

Geldof had been expected at the event to welcome theflotilla, but publicists said he was too exhausted from theexertions of Live 8 the day before.

But there is some consolation for the four brave crews.They will be invited as guests of honor at another rock concertplanned for Edinburgh on July 6.