'Join in, become part of history and help to set a new world record'

The

countdown is on for the biggest Old Gaffers Association (OGA) bash ‘of all

time’ to be held on the Isle of Wight this summer.

The

event, in celebration of the association’s jubilee year, is the finale of a

50th anniversary voyage of traditional gaff-rigged boats taking part in the

Round Britain Challenge.

Since April, more than 40 boats from across Europe

have braved extreme British weather conditions to take on the 2,000-mile

circumnavigation and many more have joined in shorter relay legs.

With

more than 220 boats participating and 1,000-plus crews and visitors signed up

to attend the OGA’s Jubilee Festival, Cowes will be filled to the rafters from

15 to 18 August.

Non-members’ gaffers are welcome to join in, become part of

history and help to set a new world record. Organisers have got 125 entries so

far for the event’s main race on Saturday 17 August, which would make it the

largest gaff rig race since records began.

OGA

spokesman Sue Lewis said: ‘The purpose of the OGA is to promote the gaff rig,

so we aim to fill the waters with our boats and show the wider sailing

community what we can do. Perhaps we can get more than 150 bowsprits crossing

that start line.’

Free berths are still available (with a small

registration fee), as are a few dinner tickets for the Friday night. Visit www.oga50.org and www.sailing-by.org.uk, or follow the Old Gaffers association on Facebook.

Picture credit: Ben Collins/OGA