Giant lugger La Cancalaise expected tonight
There's nothing more splendid than seeing classic boats lovingly restored, back on the water, and the Cornish lugger is one of the favourite icons of Britain's sailing/fishing past.
Lugger - Looe Harbour at sunset
So once again this year the very picturesque Looe Bay in Cornwall will be filled with classic sailing/fishing boats. What a sight! It's happening over this weekend, with most boats having already arrived today(Friday 3 June).
The craft will indulge in some races in the bay on Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting. Some of these boats are over 100 years old and provide a colourful spectacle, both out at sea and once tied up in the harbour.
The lugger was the main fishing boat operating off the south Cornish coast up untill the 1960s. Originally sailing vessels, some were later installed with engines. Over this weekend the engines will once again be switched off as both boats from Looe and as far afield as Brittany turn back time.
Lugger regatta - photo by Chris Bowden
The good news is that the weather is forecast to be fair for the weekend. Also forecast is that the giant three-masted 60-ft Lugger, La Cancalaise, an impressive three-masted vessel measuring 60-ft overall, is crossing the Channel in time to arrive at Looe Bay in South East Cornwall on this evening.
The regatta could attract as many as 40 of these boats with their huge and colourful canvas sails, as well a host of other smaller luggers from all over the UK.
'Without events like this, and the devotion of the people who now own these aging craft, many of the old fishing boats would be left to rot away, taking with them such a vital piece of irreplaceable maritime history,' says chairman of the Cornish Lugger Association Paul Greenwood.
The regatta is again backed by Mike Cotton's Hillcrest House and Nursing Home and supported by all of the town's authorities; a host of local businesses and many individuals, too. 'We are fortunate so many of the local authorities and businesses get behind us,' said Greenwood. 'But we never take their support for granted.'