Yarmouth 23s at YOGAFF

For two fabulous days Eileen of Avoca rafted up with three other Yarmouth23s and a couple of ring-ins to enjoy YOGAFF. (The annual Yarmouth Old Gaffers Festival). Despite looking a little weather beaten, dressed in her flags, Eileen still made a pretty picture especially with her smartly dressed siblings tied nearby.

My swimming instructor 😛

Helen and Miranda were closest on Hecate, which became the de-facto gathering place (despite the characteristic Y23 push-pit flooding) for evening drinks. Then there was Geoff and Jaye on Tarka, and finally Peter on Jabiru at the opposite end of our six boat raft.

I was delighted to be offered a tour of Eileen’s sisters and was truly fascinated by the many small differences that (besides colour) made each Yarmouth23 unique.

All bronze fittings (Eileen uses galvanised steel) and bilge keels on Jabiru, mast hoops (vs. laced sails) or angled winches on Tarka, and additional reefing lines led through jammers (for easy reefing) on Hecate.

I didn’t get to do any real sailing (too busy window shopping about town), but I did meet with Graham from Yarmouth Marine Services to discuss Eileen’s impending refit over a deliciously cool beer at the yacht club.

Old Gaffers racing in Yarmouth for the festival

Winning the great race was left up to Peter, who BTW was nowhere to be found when I motored out to take photos of the competition. I’m still curious as to how he fared and regret not having taken part.

If looks could kill...

All too soon it was time to return to Belgium and leave Eileen of Avoca behind. Any last minute excuses to stay longer were mercilessly countered by my diminutive but highly temperamental guest and I’d already seen that insisting on having things my way invariably lead to unfortunate accidents, such as a fully clothed swim in the harbor.

So, for health an safety reasons, expressions of dissent on my part were strictly limited to sub-vocal grumblings and growls.

Mind you, if looks could kill, there might have been a massacre at this years YOGAFF. 🙂

Eileen of Avoca returns to Yarmouth

Ramblin' Rose greets Eileen of Avoca

With the high pressure system responsible for England’s mini ‘heat-wave’ weakening, and only 80 miles remaining to reach Yarmouth, my eagerness for an extended stay in Dartmouth was understandably muted, besides, I’d promised friends I’d do my best to reach the Isle of Wight in time for the annual Yarmouth Old Gaffers Festival (YOGAFF).

A settling sea (my favourite kind), greeted Eileen of Avoca as she embarked (mid-afternoon) on her decisive leg. With mainsail aloft, and time aplenty, we…

(no, I’m not using Pluralis Maiestatis, it’s just that after all this time sailing, I can’t help anthropomorphising a little with Eileen, especially when I know that she’s the one doing all the hard work…),

anyway… we chugged across Lyme Bay at half speed and on into another fine night…

Ensuring that our 😉 course provided a minimum 6 mile offing from Portland Bill (well clear of the race), I set the solo sailors bane (the mechanical egg timer) to annoy me at 30 minute intervals.

By sunrise it had certainly done its job!

Satisfactorily peeved by egg timer induced nap disruption, I turned Eileen toward the ‘Needles Channel’ on a course of approximately 20º arriving at the fairway buoy just as the tide turned. Unfortunately, the turn was for the worse (an ebb tide), but a quick delve through my tidal atlas revealed a counter-current close to shore! Ah, “Hope springs eternal…”, and the increasing number of small craft escaping the Solent were spared any impending howls of frustration.

Upon reaching the west cardinal buoy marking ‘The Bridge’, I hurried shoreward and within minutes of passing ‘The Needles’ I found my elusive counter current.

It is at this point that I noticed Eileen was being closely pursued by a boatload of tourists. How surreal, but what a pleasant surprise when it turned out to be David Lemonius on Ramblin’ Rose coming to welcome Eileen home. One of his prodigal daughters returns… and who could have asked for a finer welcome!

After a brief exchange of greetings and many a click of the tourist camera as David’s passengers made the most of their unscheduled stop, I said an embarrassing “hello everyone” to his captive audience before turning to fight the remaining tide into Yarmouth.

After three years of wandering abroad, Eileen of Avoca was back at last.