Saturday, 5 July 2014

Yarmouth IOW and the Old Gaffer's "YOGAFF" Rally

On Wed 28 May, Tom and Catherine Taylor in "Marjory" and myself in "Margherita" left Chichester early in the morning to sail to Cowes.  It was a grey drizzly day with an uncomfortable stiff wind over tide chop and was a hard beat all of the way.  We spent Wednesday evening in Cowes Yacht Haven, drying ourselves out. On Thursday, we had a pleasant broad reach under grey but dry skies to Yarmouth.


Two shillings dressed overall
On arrival, we were efficiently escorted to our pontoon berth amongst a growing fleet of Gaffers all dressed overall.  This was our first YOGAFF and it had attracted over 100 entrants, ranging from the Thames Barge Alice and the Pilot Cutter Jolie Brise.... all the way down to us!  The whole town was alive with people and activity.  Some seemed in keeping with the boats and the sea, and there was some good street music but much was (in my opinion) tending to street market tat.  

In the evening the YOGAFF organisers held a welcoming drinks party on the pontoons and on Friday evening they held an excellent nautical music evening at Yarmouth Sailing Club, recapturing much of the fantastic atmosphere of the OGA 50th Rally the year before at Cowes.

On Saturday morning there was the great YOGAFF race....but very little wind!  the fleet sailed and drifted over a shortened course for an hour or so and there was much confusion.  Tom entered Marjory with a borrowed crew, I did not.  At the evening prize giving in the Royal Solent Yacht Club, it was announced that Tom and Marjory had won their class....and the overall race on handicap - beating three times Fastnet winner Jolie Brise!!! Tom was amazed and delighted.

Marjory second from right

Marjory tucked in to the starboard side of Jolie Brise

On Saturday afternoon the sun came out and there was (scratch built) log yacht racing in the harbour and other races for the kids (of all ages!).  While others just relaxed in their yachts.

The Rally dispersed on Sunday.  Tom and Catherine left early to get the easterly flow of tide to Chichester.  I left at 13.00 to get the flow westwards past Hurst Castle.  Another hard and lumpy beat with wind over tide to Poole, arriving at 7pm, cold and damp.  I moored up in the harbour and fell on a tin of heated up beef stew .....and a whisky.  Back onto my mooring at Sandbanks on Monday June 2nd.   

All in all, a great trip from Chichester and a fantastic time at YOGAFF.  I will do it again.