Solent Gaffers

THE SOLENT AREA OF THE OGA

Solent member sails south-west

Ivy Green with Mary Ritchie at Falmouth Classics
©C Hussey

Ivy Green is just back from a great 10 days in Cornwall (Actually she’s in Dartmouth, waiting for the next event!). We participated in both Falmouth Classics and the OGA’s Helford River Rally. For those that aren’t interested in the detail of our log, here’s a summary that I hope will encourage others to travel down from the Solent next year.

Despite starting to look for crew 6 months ago, none were available for the passage from the Solent down to Falmouth. Louise nobly volunteered, just before she was press-ganged. We also had to wait until the last minute for a gap in the SW winds. So we ended up doing the trip in one 28hr session, mainly under motor, arriving at lunchtime on Thursday for a Friday start to the event.

There we found almost 200 classics of all sizes, from a Memory 19 to pilot cutters, ‘Greyhound’ and Brixham trawlers. Most of them rafted 5 deep at Falmouth Haven. There were plenty of non-gaffers too, including Hilliards and Harrison Butlers and even a few visitors from France. ‘Lyra’ had also made it down from the Solent area. We had 2 days of racing in the Carrick Roads. If you don’t know these sheltered waters, it’s time you went and visited. Just don’t expect to keep up with the Falmouth Working Boats! Then a parade of sail, lead by the Royal Navy and assorted lifeboats.

The bargain fee for all this was just £30. For that we got moorings, pasties, beer, whisky, art and racing. We also got uninterrupted sunshine. For a little more we got a great barbecue at the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club. About the only thing not on offer was a lot of wind, but it didn’t seem to matter much. They get much less tide down there anyway.

Then on Monday many of the gaffers headed across the bay to the Helford River. There the sunshine, sociability and lack of wind continued. It’s a beautiful spot, with plenty of room for visitors. We enjoyed a beach barbecue, dinner in the Helford River Sailing Club and a verrrry slow race.

Thank you to the organisers of both events (there is a substantial overlap), who made us most welcome and allowed us to take 2nd place in our class. It would be great to see the Solent Gaffers well represented in Cornwall next year. Yes it’s a long way for some of us, but it’s not difficult if you can wait for the weather. Why not join the South B’Sou’West cruise in July this year, to find the way? Then go and join the regattas next year.

p.s. Did I mention the concurrent International Sea Shanty Festival?

p.p.s. Yes that is a gaff-rigged wayfarer! It was visiting from the East Coast. Smaller boats can always trail!

Published: 
29 Jun 2017