Solent Gaffers


Ben Collins' Yarmouth Regatta weekend

Arielle - Ben's Gaffer
©R Jacobs

What you need for a perfect Yarmouth Gaffer Rally is the right mix, The weather, the people, the boats and the music and the unexpected. The usual eccentrics turned up and the boats again were of all vintages shapes and sizes. The wind is everything of course.  This year the weather played its usual tricks and created the right degree of the unexpected.

The punters had a breezy start. Thursday came in as a half gale which held the more cautious back in their home ports. Others punched westward on the ebb and took the dowsing! But Friday followed glorious with a perfect breeze and just right for the now traditional Gaffel Race. But then things changed again and as the clouds cleared on Saturday morning there was  ‘not a breath’ for the big race or rather the ‘big drift’…. until of course it was all over and then the wind came back and smiled at us all tied back up in  harbour!

We can’t complain however, most of us had come for the party, for the cockpit chats the sea yarns and the getting away from it all. The slower pace on the Island gives one a better perspective on life’s deeper meanings.  Time to sit around in sunny cockpits in earnest chatter about simple stuff, about ropes and blocks, varnishes and paints, summer plans and of long gone sailing ventures. 

The racing is never predictable! The 'Gaffel Race' on Friday had the best of it. The breeze was good and the skies blue! The  inrgiguing circatory navigation as engaging as ever. “ Go east!" ...."no go west!” ....You just have to know the tides! Many a lesser sailor got sucked eastward, but the best got home! 

The big Race on Saturday left us all drifting backwards from the start line! 'Light airs' would be an exageration! The first ever race began in reverse mode. We never made the start line! 

But our new Solent Committee, led by our first ever woman president Sue Pennison, did us proud. The Yarmouth party lived up to its best Traditions. Thanks to all who put in the hard work to make it happen. 

11 Jun 2019