Friday, 1 March 2013

Calling all old Gaffers

When I was in Holyhead last summer doing preparatory work for the Cruise Project, I came across a sailing event organised by the Old Gaffers Association. No, not a bunch of pensioners, but an organisation dedicated to promoting gaff rig (a type of old sailing boat) which was in danger of disappearing when the group was founded in 1963. A Gaff Rig is where the main sail has 4 sides rather than the triangles you see on most modem boats. The 'gaff is the wooden pole across the top of the sail. It's a pretty old type of rig, and early in the 20th century it was largely replaced by the triangular Bermudan rig, which was thought more efficient. 

You will get a chance to see these marvellous boats in 2013 because they are to sail along the Welsh coast in May to celebrate their 50th Anniversary. Gosh, is it really 50 years since 1963 and the Beatles and all that? To celebrate this landmark in the history of the preservation of traditional gaff rig these lovely boats will be out on parade! Members will be sailing their boats round Britain all summer long and they will be joined by Old Gaffers from the Netherlands, Belgium and France.

Some members will complete the Round Britain Challenge which is a 4 month long circumnavigation of Britain, calling at many Ports, whilst others accompany the Round Britain fleet on part of its way in their area in the form of a Relay carrying tokens from area to area.

The association's main website is at, and the page dedicated to their 50th anniversary celebrations is at

No comments:

Post a Comment