'Gaff-rigged yachts have never lost their fascination'
Gaff-rigged sailing boats have never really lost their charm - or their passionate followers, and this year the Old Gaffer Association is celebrating its 50th Anniversary.
While there are still even sailors around who think an old gaffer is some kind of tape, a film technician or your pet name of the boss, the Old Gaffers' Assocation (OGA) is a global club with branches everywhere, not only in its home in Britain, but spread across the world from the Netherlands to Western Australia, from France to British Colombia.
It was early in the 20th Century that the gaff-rigged boat was largely replaced by the modern Bermuda rig, but that doesn't stop members of the OGA from thinking that gaffs are best!
Gaff-rigged and traditional boats are found in the Association - .. .
So to celebrate this 50 year landmark some members will complete a Round Britain Challenge which is a four-month long circumnavigation of Britain, calling at many Ports, whilst others accompany the Round Britain fleet on part of its way in their area in the form of a Relay carrying tokens from area to area. Crew members are needed too, so if you are interested in crewing click here.
Gaff-rigged Celebration route - .. .
The first leg of the journey around the UK has already started in Holland and Maldon on the East coast on April 21st and they will be joined and greeted en route by many other Old Gaffers. Gaff-rigged yachts like Windflower and Windbreaker are already heading for Cowes. Cine Mare, Morgaine and Raven have left Flushing, and Leonorahas left Stellendam, all bound for Nieuwpoort in Belgium. In Nieuwpoort they will pick up crew and then hopefully take a line to Cowes.
The climax of the celebrations will be the OGA Jubilee Festival at Cowes on 15th - 18th August, but there will also be celebrations in Cardiff at the end of June, and Peel on the Isle of Man in early August.
Peel is the designated OGA Irish Sea Centre for those that can not make it to the climax of the celebrations in Cowes but would like to join in the Anniversary Festivities.
Peel Traditional Boat Weekend has been extended to a five days festival and an exciting programme of events is being organised by the enthusiastic Committee who look forward to welcoming 'old gaffers', returning and new traditional boats to what promises to be the 2013 premier event of the Irish Sea.
For full information about all aspects of the 50th anniversary celebration, click here.
by Nancy Knudsen
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3:37 PM Sun 28 Apr 2013GMT
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