The Old Gaffers Association is celebrating their Jubilee - 50 years is a long time to be an association for any class of boat, and they are celebrating by circumnavigating Britain, while raising money for the RNLI in the process. No they're not all British sailors either. In fact when they started on 20th April there were eight Dutch boats and only six British boats - but who's counting except Sail-World? No matter, other British boats will join soon. Half a dozen east coast Old Gaffers and eight Dutch member boats set off from their respective bases on 20th April to make the circumnavigation, collecting more gaffers as they went and raising funds for the RNLI. The east coast contingent departed from Maldon in Essex where the Old Gaffers Association was formally founded 50 years ago in 1963. They joined up with two gaffers from Kent and the Dutch boats and sailed on to the River Hamble for the first of many events which had been arranged all around the coast this summer. The gaffers were in the Hamble on 4th May by members of the Solent Area of the OGA. Like many of the events organised this summer there was a public element as well as a Gaffers Party: this event coincided with Southampton Maritime Festival at the Ocean Cruise Terminal 5-6 May. Where are they now? After another great party weekend hosted by the Northern Ireland OGA in Belfast, with sunshine, shorts and warmth for a change, some of the fleet took their leave of Ireland. They headed north for Loch Melfort, south of Oban and the Caledonian Canal or up through the western isles and 'round the top' of Scotland. As time goes by, however, interest in building. Over 230 boats indicated their interest online for the OGA Jubilee Festival at Cowes 15th-18th August. There is likely to be room for as many as 200 boats in Cowes Yacht Haven but once all available places have been booked there will be a waiting list. Full details of all events planned for the Old Gaffers Association 50th anniversary can be found at http://oga50.org/
Old Gaffers gather to circumnavigate - how much fun is this!