Around 32 classic boats will sail into Sutton Harbour in Plymouth this week as part of a Round Britain Cruise (RBC60) celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of the Old Gaffers Association (OGA).
To mark the 60th anniversary of the organisation, boating enthusiasts from across the UK will be stopping off in the city from tomorrow Wednesday 10 to Friday 12 May – Guy’s Quay at Sutton Harbour will be hosting the south coast stage of the event.
Visitors to Sutton Harbour will be able to see the classic boats from the quayside while in the marina over the two days, before they sail off to their next destination in South Wales.
The fleet started its journey from Ramsgate in April and will finish at the River Orwell in Suffolk at the beginning of August.
Vessels, both large and small, are taking part in the Association for Gaff Rig Sailing’s RBC60 rally and are due into Sutton Harbour Marina from mid-morning on Wednesday (between 10.30am and 2.30pm).
They will head out into Plymouth Sound for a display of sail on Friday 12 May between 10.30am and 11.30am, before departing on towards Fowey in Cornwall. People will be able to watch this display from the Hoe.
Around 32 boats are expected, including an historic lifeboat travelling with the fleet. Approximately 20 boats are travelling around the UK, and the rest are local boats showing their support.
Jonathan Brice, local organiser for the RBC60 Plymouth stopover, said: “Sutton Harbour is one of the finest places on the south coast for heritage craft to visit, so both the boats and the wonderfully historic backdrop complement each other. Our participants are thrilled to be able to stopover at Sutton Harbour in Plymouth, such a prime location after several days at sea and enjoy their first celebration of their voyage around the UK. The OGA and the participants are most grateful to Sutton Harbour for their generous support of the gatherings by making available the berths and supporting facilities.”
Mark Brimacombe, Sutton Harbour Marina Manager, said: “We’re really excited to welcome members of the Old Gaffers Association to Sutton Harbour. They’re going to be berthed at Guy’s Quay, in the heart of the old Barbican area and these boats are all based on traditional designs – most of which have evolved from the working craft of Great Britain. The boats are going to provide a wonderful backdrop to the Diamond Jubilee celebrations for the OGA60 and we’re delighted to host them at our first-class facilities at Sutton Harbour.”
All the boats are gaff rigged; the same rig used by many working craft over 100 years ago. Some of the vessels are built traditionally and made from wood. Others will be contemporary replicas built from modern materials, while still retaining the traditional gaff rig.
Visiting crews to Sutton Harbour are expected to support local businesses and take advantage of local sightseeing tours available. Sutton Harbour has long been a favourite destination for the Old Gaffers Association because of its first-class facilities and position in the heart of Plymouth city centre.
The progress of the Round Britain Cruise fleet can be followed by visiting the Old Gaffer’s website here- smaller boats are encouraged to attend the area celebrations as the cruise fleet passes through.