Tag Archives: old gaffer’s association

OGA celebrates 50 years in colourful style despite strong winds

Start of Clog race by Keith Allso

Strong winds meant that just 60 boats completed the OGA’s 50th anniversary race at Cowes on Saturday, but it didn’t prevent the organisation’s members having a lot of fun.

Almost 200 traditionally rigged sailing boats gathered in Cowes Yacht Haven and Shepards Wharf Marina from all round the UK, and from as far afield as Holland, Belgium and France.

Some 141 boats registered to participate in Saturday’s big race, which would have set a new record for gaff-rigged boats racing together. However, strong winds deterred entrants, and only 94 boats started the race. Many then retired as the wind got up and the sea became rougher. But 60 stalwart boats soldiered on and finished the course.

One of the photos below by Keith Allso shows the 18ft Chough owned by Christine and David Christine Hopkins, which at 18ft the smallest boat to finish the race.

At the other end of the scale, the deep sea smack 68ft Pioneer was the oldest boat at the festival. originally built in 1864 and recently restored by the Pioneer Sailing Trust in Brightlingsea.

She once worked the fishing grounds off Terschelling, but now she takes groups of up to 12 young people from all sorts of backgrounds out to sea for an experience of a lifetime. This weekend she was crewed by a group of young carers.

Pioneer picked up more than one prize in the racing: she was first over the finish line, second in her class on handicap, and to top it all she was awarded the Youth Cup for the crew with the lowest average age.

OGA president Mike Shaw announced the launch of an OGA-sponsored youth fund to support the work of Pioneer and others like her.

Dutch visitors to the festival challenge the different UK OGA areas to make up a simple model racing boat using a kit comprising a clog, a shaped wooden keel and a lump of lead for ballast. A race was held in the marina as part of the regatta, and the winner was awarded a carved wooden tulip awarded by the Dutch skippers.

There’s more to read on the Sailing By website, and more here from Bonita.

Photos by Keith Allso, except deep sea smack Pioneer, which was taken by OGA officials

OGA 50th jubilee at Cowes, 15-18th August

Photos by Chris Boynton

The Old Gaffer’s Association’s big do at Cowes on the Isle of Wight on the 15-18th August looks like wonderful fun.

For one thing, it will see what is likely to be the largest racing fleet of gaff-rigged boats to be assembled in many decades, if not ever.

In addition to the big race on the Saturday, the events include various parties, shanty singing, a competition to sail Dutch clogs, another of the OGA’s downwind rubber dinghy races, various other kinds of nonsense and a 400-cover dinner. Gorblimey!

Read all about it here.

OGA 50th anniversary round Britain trip group divides at the Caledonian Canal

Cine Mara and Bonify in Kames Bay. Pic Ben Collins Greensleeves, Witch and Capraia in Cuan Sound - Pic Ben Collins

Photos by Ben Collins of the OGA

The Old Gaffers Association folks are continuing their 50th anniversary circumnavigation, but has effectively divided in two, with over a dozen boats are in the West of Scotland enjoying the scenery and planning to enter the Caledonian Canal later this week, while a smaller fleet including the North Kent-based local favourite, the 100-year old Morecambe Bay prawner Bonita, a collection of Scottish OGA boats including Tantina II and Naiad, and the Dutch boat Windbreker, are heading round the top.

Bonita will go to Orkney whilst the rest hope to get to Shetland, before all joining up at the next big gathering in Newcastle on July 5th to 7th.

More details of the Newcastle event can be found on the oga50.org website on the OGA Area events pages.

The site has a map showing where all the boats are, and links to individual boat blogs.

An update on the OGA’s 50th anniversary round Britain trip

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Old Gaffers in action. I hope they won’t mind me saying that…

The latest bulletin from the Old Gaffers Round Britain Challenge 10 UK and seven Dutch boats under way are now scattered along the south coast with the largest boat, pilot cutter Annabel J, the furthest west.

Annabel J has an AIS transponder so she can be tracked via live ships tracking sites such as www.marinetraffic.com – the other boats can be followed via the various blogs via links on the OGA’s special website www.oga50.org, where a new link combines data on the position of the boats from all available sources.

Earlier the boats attended a party and a parade of sail in Southampton, and had to delay for gales at Plymouth.

The OGA’s new historical travelogue website is following the progress of the fleet and illustrating its progress with fascinating stories from old accounts and images of the areas they pass.

Also check out the OGA remarkable website telling stories of the sea and our coasts: www.sailing-by.org.uk. For example, here’s Daniel Defoe writing pretty scathingly about Kent’s biggest South Coast port: Dover: freight, mail and mackerel


An American in Essex and Suffolk – Thad Danielson hangs out with the Strangers and the OGA


US boat builder Thad Danielson of Redd’s Pond Boatworks fame came to the UK this summer to join a meet of the Albert Strange Association and to attend an Old Gaffer’s Association for a rally – and he took lots of photos.

Read his account and see his photos here. You’ll be glad you did – particularly if you don’t know the coast of Essex and Suffolk

A beautiful model of a ring-netter


Jay Cresswell’s model of Ribhinn Donn I, and (bottom right) Antonia & Ruaraidh

This stunning model of a ring netter has been made by Jay Cresswell, an ex-trawler skipper, long-standing Old Gaffers Association member and authority on marine history who has for many years lived near Aberdeen.

He writes:

‘You might like to see the attached. I’ve nearly completed a 3/4in to 1ft model of the 54ft Alex Noble & Sons-built ring netter Ribhinn Donn I. (Her sister is Silver Quest, which is currently sitting in the mud at Penryn down by Falmouth.)

‘I still have to complete rigging details, wheelhouse interior and other bits and pieces such as semi-balancing edge to rudder. The bottom is quite literally anti-fouled. The model is built from original yard drawings for these two boats.

‘This is the second ringer I’ve tackled, the other being a Weatherhead & Blackie 56-footer to same scale named Antonia & Ruaraidh after my two oldest children. (See above.) The original boat in this case is the Catherine Anne, which was chopped up a few years ago in one of the UK fishing vessel decommissioning rounds.

‘I hope you like the images. It’s been a year’s worth of spare time. There are no metal fastenings in the hull, with all planking dowelled to the frames.

‘Regards, Jay Cresswell, Aberdeen’

I certainly do like them Jay – you’ve created a couple of meticulous models that rival or better many of those seen in museums. I particularly like the way every detail seems to be properly to scale. Many thanks for sending them over.