Golden year for traditional gaff rig sailing

A Round Britain Challengewith a difference’ will taking place this summer to celebrate the gaff rig and 50 years of the Old Gaffers Association (OGA).

The

2,000-mile voyage around the country will mark the landmark year while

fundraising for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

The OGA was founded in 1963 to promote traditional gaff rig.

The

four-month anniversary voyage will include Old Gaffers from Britain,

the Netherlands, Belgium and France, a spectacle of boats out on parade,

welcome parties andsend-offs at ports all around

the UK.

It will begin in Maldon, Essex in April and travel clockwise around the coast.

Festivities

will include a Solent area party in early May, stops around Falmouth,

Wales, an OGA Regatta weekend in Dublin, send offs at Belfast Harbour

and Scotland in midJune.

The

fleet will then split with some travelling through the Caledonian Canal

and others spending time in the Western Isles of Scotland.

Participants

will regroup for weekend events in South Humberside, Suffolk, Essex and

Kent before arriving at Cowes on the Isle of Wight, from August 15 to

18, for the big OGA Jubilee Festival.

All

are welcome to join in the fun. There will be free berthing for three

nights in Cowes Yacht Haven for a small registration fee.

OGA

spokeswoman Sue Lewis said: “More than 120 gaffers large and small have

already put their names on the list for priority registration and with

up to 200 boats expected it will be a fantastic

sight.

“There’ll

be racing in the Solent on the Saturday for prestigious once in a

lifetime Anniversary trophies and crew parties every night.”

RNLI

community fundraising manager, Peter Tarrant said: “The idea to

circumnavigate the UK’s 2,000-mile coastline this summer in aid of the

RNLI to mark the 50th anniversary of Old Gaffers is

wonderful.

“The

RNLI charity has been saving lives around the same coastline for nearly

200 years yet still remains independent of Government with over 98% of

our annual income made up of donations and

legacies.

“All

money raised through this nautical celebration will be put to good use,

and will help enable the charity to keep our volunteer crews trained

and equipped so they can continue to respond

to those in trouble at sea 24/7.”

An

anniversary book called Sailing Gaffers stories from 50 years of the

OGA, compiled and edited by Viv Head will be published in late spring to

raise funds for the cause.

The OGA will be at the London Boat Show

Crew are needed to join several of the participating boats.


Visit the event website.

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