Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Old Gaffers Association anniversary festival fleet race off Cowes

Vessels off Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, taking part in the Gaffers Jubilee Festival
Image caption About 200 gaff rigged vessels have gathered off Cowes for the celebrations

About 120 boats have taken part in a race to celebrate the Old Gaffers Association's (OGA) 50th anniversary.

About 200 gaff rigged vessels have gathered off Cowes, Isle of Wight, for the four-day OGA Jubilee Festival.

The race is thought to be the largest gaffers race ever held and attracted craft from overseas, including Belgium and France.

Vessels at the event span 150 years of gaff rig [four-cornered sail] designs.

Ten of the boats are recorded on the National Register of Historic Vessels, making them "a significant part of the UK's maritime heritage", according to OGA.

Ex-working boats dating from the late 1800s and modern gaffers, such as "Cornish crabbers", are also taking part in the celebrations.

Sue Pennison, sailing secretary of the Solent Gaffers Association, which is hosting the event in the Cowes Yacht Haven and Shepherd's Wharf, said: "The festival marks a landmark moment for the association in its 50th year and is a great way of bringing all the boats together in one place."

In the run up to the event, which started on Thursday, a group of 20 gaffers also completed a 2,000 mile (3,200km) circumnavigation of the UK.

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