Now online as part of the British Film Institute’s Britain on Film series in association with the East Anglian Film Archive, this little film of a late 60s event including a race organised by the Old Gaffers’ Association is absolutely charming – and includes what I’m sure is a glimpse of Charles Stock helming Shoal Waters back from the race. See what well known boats you can spot…
My thanks to Tom Cunliffe for sending me this one.
The latest edition of Classic Sailor magazine has a nice piece about last year’s Swale Match that provides a foretaste of this year’s event on the 29th July. The race is quite an event with 50 entrants in 2016.
It has a staggered start at 15-minute intervals including staysail barges, followed by bowsprit barges, gaff rigged yachts under the umbrella title ‘old gaffers’, smacks and bawleys, and what are called ‘bermudan classics’. There’s even a class for traditional power vessels, though they receive awards rather than racing.
The author seems to have have a very pleasant time aboard the staysail barge Orinoco, from which he seems to have admired other staysail barges such as Edme and Marjorie, Dan Tester’s gorgeous, Herreshof-built Starling Burgess 6-metre sloop Sheila and the Brightlingsea smack Alberta, which was restored some time ago by Dan and his late father Barry Tester.
For photos of earlier Swale Matches, click here and here.
My pal Pete Bromwich caught the sailing and boat building bug some time ago – and has kindly sent me some photos of the the boats attending the Yarmouth Old Gaffers Festival (YOGAFF) last weekend.
I think it’s a particular pleasure to learn that old pals you haven’t seen for a while have taken up one’s own interests, and that’s certainly the case with Pete.
Here’s what he says:
‘Unfortunately the wind was not with us this Saturday and I did not see any of the gaffer actually moving, but here are some in Yarmouth, hope they are of some use to you.
‘Yarmouth Harbour was full; I did not count, but there must have been well over 100 gaffers of all shapes and sizes crammed into the harbour over the weekend.
It was lovely to see a friend I had met at Lyme Regis Boat Building Academy, Jeremy, a few years ago with Margherita, his Willow Bay Boats Shilling. She was rafted with Marjory, the first one built by Phil Swift in 1998. The Shilling has a cedar hull which is then sheathed, making her virtually maintenance free.
The build quality and thought that has gone into carefully making all use of the available space is quite stunning. She’s a lovely looking small gaff rigged yacht that sails well, according to her owner.
Pilgrim was a big attraction at Yarmouth, seen here with Princess of Caithness rafted to her. She is the oldest surviving Brixham built and rigged sailing trawler. She is run by a trust who offer sailing experiences from ½ day to 9 day cruises. Definitely one of the many things on my to-do list. She is now completely restored and members of the public where invited on board to view her, which was greatly appreciated.
‘Hope this is of some use to you. Pete’
It certainly is! Many thanks for some very nice shots. We had better winds to play with on the North Kent Coast last weekend, but I can’t pretend we had a fraction of the number of pretty boats to look at!