In 2018, Arnside Sailing Club secured Heritage Lottery funding to purchase the Crossfield Rivers Class yacht, 'Severn' and bring her back to Arnside where she was built in 1912. As a follow-up to the exhibition held in July 2018, a conference was organised and several owners of Crossfields boats were invited as speakers. Members of the Crossfields family were also present.
The conference attracted 70 delegates drawn from Scotland, Wales, East and South Coasts of England. It was a great success with suggestions that it should be run as an annual event to celebrate the work of Crossfields and the remarkable maritime heritage of Arnside.
On Friday evening, delegates who had arrived early were invited to meet at the Arnside Sailing Club for a social evening. The conference on Saturday took place in the Arnside Educational Institute with an excellent programme of illustrated talks including:
The History of Crossfields & 'Severn', the Royal Mersey Rivers Class by Alasdair Simpson, the conference organiser.
The History of Lancashire Nobbies and Crossfields role in their design by Maurice Evans, fifth generation Nobby owner.
Three talks from current owners of boats still sailing: 'Moya', 1910, kept in the Adriatic by Sabina Tassinari, 'Bonita', 1988, kept in the Swale by Mike Beckett and 'Maryll', 1937, kept in the Netherlands by Keith Watson.
Mary Hamilton, from the Arnside Archive Group, presented a fascinating talk about the Arthur Ransome connection with Arnside through 'Swallow' and 'Coch-y-bonddhu'.
Both the OGA and Nobby Owners Association were well-represented at the Conference. There are over 30 Crossfields boats listed on the OGA online Boat Register and through work for the conference and exhibition in Arnside, Alasdair Simpson and the Arnside Archive have contributed a considerable amount of updated information for the records, which we hope will continue.
All the contributions complemented each other in terms of technical detail, historical information, tales of restoration, working sail, sailing for pleasure and, perhaps most importantly, the passion behind being the 'custodian' of an historic vessel.
There was also an opportunity for delegates to see 'Severn' in her shed, where she is stored ashore for the winter.
A Friends Group has been set up to maintain, fund and sail 'Severn'.
crossfieldyachtsevern [at] gmail [dot] com (subject: Yacht%20Severn%20listed%20on%20the%20OGA%20website) (Contact the Friends by email) if you wish to join or support the group.