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Swamazons Old Gaffers event at Walton and Frinton Yacht Club

by Pete Thomas 25 Jun 2010 17:58 BST 12-13 June 2010

'Swallows and Amazons' weekend
organised by the Old Gaffers Association

This was the eleventh year of this popular event and this year the weather was kind to us all. Over 38 boats had signed up for the event with several travelling a long way to participate. Many people arrived on Friday and set up their camp in local gardens, which had been very kindly made available to us. There was a lot of activity in the dinghy park as craft of all shapes and sizes were unhitched and prepared for the morning; several ‘mother’ craft arrived, including Mary Amelia and Transcur, with their tenders, and moored up in the Pond or quayside.

On Saturday morning there was a lot of activity as the boats were launched. We had good weather for a change, with a light wind. This year the course set was to take us round Horsey Island in a clockwise direction, over the causeway, down Hamford Water and back up the Twizzle and finish at the yacht club.The start line was across the Twizzle at almost high water, but still quite crowded with 38 boats all over the place.

The racing fleet varied between a 12sq Metre Sharpie, an International canoe, clinker lug rigged dinghies, Mirrors and a Winkle Brig and a fleet of 7 smacks boats and a Merlin Rocket. Quite quickly the racers forged their way to the front but the sight of the fleet crossing the Wade was quite amazing, as it was not yet high water and several boats had minor problems navigating through the shallows, which had tufts of grass showing in places.

The wind increased as the race went on and made for an exciting sail, but the only casualty was a minor dismasting of a Mirror and one capsize.

Once back ashore, the W&FYC had laid on a BBQ enjoyed by all.

Once people had recovered, children of all ages set-to and built the customary “paper boats” which were then raced across the Pond. Great fun was had by all. The youngest member, Henry Hodgkinson’s (4) boat was the clear winner. Fun Prizes were awarded to entrants and teams .

On the Sunday mid morning around 16 dinghies set of from the club to meet up with their other “halves”. Boats had been given half the name of well known pirates and the idea was for them to find the other half of the name given to another boat. Dinghies then sailed to Stone point where a quick picnic was had before the tide turned and participants returned to the W&FYC, to load-up and make their way home.

Thanks must go Walton and Frinton Yacht Club who hosted the event and did everything they could to make it a success, from providing safety cover to Paul who looked after all our catering and drinking needs.

Thanks also to the campsite providers who gave up their gardens for the tents and gear, and all the organising team of Old Gaffers.

Traditional Gaffer Class
1st Medea
2nd Woody

Spirit Of Tradition Class
1st Mantra
2nd Montmoreoncy

New Classic Class
1st Cloud Nine
2nd Anglia

Smacks Boat Class
1st Willow
2nd Lettuce

Modern 'Hot Shots'
1st Manic
2nd Golden Snitch

Find out more about the Old Gaffers Association or how you can sail on the 'Swallow'.

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