If the symbol of a country workers pitch fork flapping high in the rigging of a boat with square sails means nothing to you then by the end of this year it just may as 2013 is an extra special celebratory year for The Old Gaffers Association who are holding events around the country to mark the occasion.
As well as the many gatherings on the water taking place there is a UK circumnavigation in progress as I write that will culminate on the 15th of August at Cowes on the Isle Of White in what is predicted to be the largest gathering of gaff rig craft for decades.
In addition to all this on the water fun and frivolity Association member Viv Head has produced a fabulous book which celebrates half a century of the OGA.
Titled: Sailing Gaffers – Stories from 50 years of the Old Gaffers Association the book begins with a foreword by a firm favourite of mine Tom Cunliffe and soon goes on to tell us of the humble origins of the OGA which for those that never knew how this worldwide band of spar-aloft sailors came about will be interesting enough, but it is the numerous contributions from the members themselves that gives the reader a fair insight into what it means to be a ‘old gaffer’ today. As the pages turn in succession there are headings such as ‘Hookers’ and ‘The East Coast Connection’ – a gangster twist I hear you say? Come on… yes, you guessed correct these Hookers are a type of gaff rig boat and the East Coast Connection is one to the Old Gaffers on the south coast. How could I even think up a thought like that…
Sailing Gaffers continues to draw you in though with 304 pages literally stuffed full with interesting and at times amusing tales from traditional sailors and their beloved traditional boats. Among the many colourful photographs that illustrate the book are some well-known boats too, some of them favourites to more than a few of us. Key figures no longer with us are fondly remembered too and one or two familiar faces, not just in the OGA but in the sailing world in general, also share some of their experiences. If you sail a gaffer or are simply interested in boats then this book will be a valued addition to your library.
Sailing Gaffers – Viv Head – Paperback - 304 pages. Published by Quartet Books and will be available from August 2013 priced at £20.00. Copies can be purchased here www.quartetbooks.co.uk or here http://www.eastcoastclassics.co.uk/news/sailing-gaffers-sale-now