After many years of chartering and sailing plastic boats and having pondered and debated for years, we finally took the big decision entered into boat ownership earlier this year. On many occasions we had paused to look at the beauty of wooden boats and we had enjoyed a few days with Luke Powell on ‘Agnes’, an exquisite and solid pilot cutter. It was probably then that the die was caste in favour of the charm of wooden boat design. And so it was that we bought our Ed Burnett gaff cutter ‘Meagan’. She is our cosy cottage on the water and one that offers the thrill of planning our next trip to new destinations. Over the last weekend of August we decided to take part in our first OGA event. To be more precise, we didn’t enter the race as we were are still getting to grips with gaff sailing, we were more interested in the social side of the event and to get as many handy tips as possible and to get a grip of a new set of sailing techniques and language. Lizards, horses, cranse irons, gammon irons and gallows are becoming everyday terms. The pulpit has been replaced with a bowsprit, lazy jacks, in mast furling and kicking straps are now things of the past. Pulleys and endless rope are the new norm, and at least you can see at a glance where it’s all going wrong. We arrived at Cowes Yacht Haven on Friday nice and early just after lunch as we had no doubt that we could have wreaked endless damage with our bowsprit had it been crowded! Richard and Jeremy were on the dockside to take our lines, an excellent and welcome start to the weekend. Although we were not racing we nevertheless went to the race briefing. Even if we were seasoned gaff sailors the instructions sounded a tad complicated and a sail straight down to Lymington seemed by far the best option. After meeting a wide range of very welcoming fellow gaff sailors over our fish and chip supper we returned to the boat early as that night we were being joined by our youngest son, Jeremy, for Saturday’s sail. We woke to a bright day with the impending wind starting to whistle through the marina. We were last out as some warping was needed to make sure we didn’t take out Richard’s lovely motor launch as the flood tide grabbed the bow. One reef in for good measure and we were off and absolutely no topsail! A boisterous and sometime wet beat down the Western Solent found us at Lymington entrance around 15.00 grappling with a rather truculent jib that didn’t want to roll up. Once tamed we tidied up the foredeck and were alongside the Dan Bran pontoon guided by the ever-helpful Lymington HM staff. A G&T to calm down! Supper at the Royal Lymington YC was a sociable evening rounding off a great weekend and we look forward to our next OGA rally, possibly Yarmouth at the end of this month?