Round Britain ordeal
When the Old Gaffers planned to celebrate their 50th Anniversary with a “Round Britain Challenge” no one envisaged quite how challenging the weather would be, reports Sue Lewis secretary of the OGA.
‘Gales pinned the gaff-rigged boats in Plymouth, then again in Falmouth and sadly prevented most of the boats from making the trip to the Isles of Scilly. Then Milford Haven became their base for a week while they waited for strong northerlies to let up.
‘In fact that is a bit of a generalisation as the boats have been in different places at different times. There’s a link on www.oga50.org to a map which combines data from Trackaphone, LiveShips and word of mouth so you can follow the progress of the boats – and to read more about where they are, and stories of those places, the OGA has set up www.sailing-by.org.uk. You can also follow blogs which several of the boats are updating online.
‘The first weekend of June was spent partying in Dublin with the Dublin Bay Old Gaffers and participating in the first Riverfest there, and then after stopovers in various Irish Sea ports including for some the Isle of Man, the gaffers met up again in a big group for more festivities in Belfast. The Northern Ireland section of the OGA treated them to parties and musical entertainment including a reception in the sumptuous Harbour Commissioners’ Offices, a party on board Nomadic, the newly restored tender to Titanic, a river trip up the Lagan, and yet another party with real gaffer music on board the Dutch Barge Confiance.
‘Ireland treated them to wall-to-wall sunshine but now the gaff-rigged fleet is moving on to Scotland rain has set in. Soggy crews are in various ports looking forward to the next gathering in Loch Melfort but working out how to get there before the next batch of gales arrives. A smaller fleet hoping to sail “round the top” is progressing up the west coast through the islands.’
For information on forthcoming events on the Challenge look at “OGA Area events” on www.OGA50.org