Solent Gaffers


Young gaffers in the Solent, 2017

Amelie Rose looking splendid
©S Mitchell

This was my second year taking part in the OGA Youth Weekend, aboard 'Amelie Rose' so I was keen to broaden my understanding of how to sail a gaff rigged boat and see how much I actually remembered from last year.

Last year we were slightly low on crew numbers but this year we were at full strength with help from friends at the Swanage Sailing Club.

We arrived at Bucklers Hard on Friday morning where we met Nick the skipper and Adam the mate and introduced ourselves to the rest of the crew. For the rest of that afternoon we sailed aound the Solent becoming one with the boat and getting to know each other. Later that evening the crew sat up on deck whilst playing the guitar and generally enjoying the relaxed atmosphere.

Race day. With tensions high over a bacon sandwich breakfast, we set out for the start line on what wind we had. The start of the race went perfectly to plan, leaving most of the fleet behind, but we soon realised that the wind had dropped and everyone was now at the mercy of the tide. Eventually we decided to drop our anchor and sit in the summer heat, eating toasties and playing board games until we finally decided to retire.

On the last day, the wind and rain had picked up and we made swift time back across the Solent to Bucklers Hard where we sat down for one last meal and gathered our stuff on land. We said our thank yous and goodbyes to Adam and Nick, which concluded our lovely adventure on the 'Amelie Rose'.

Felix Williams

9 Jan 2018