The Old Gaffers’ Jubilee Festival at Cowes. Picture by Robin Crossley.
THE Old Gaffers’ Jubilee Festival, staged at Cowes, has been hailed a resounding success by organisers — despite the failure of a world-record attempt.
Organisers had hoped they would stage the largest ever recorded gaff-rig race on Saturday, when 140 boats entered to take part in the event.
However, bad weather meant only 94 boats turned up at the start line and the challenging conditions meant a number had to retire, with a total of 60 eventually crossing the finishing line.
Spokeswoman for the event, Sue Lewis, said: "We had 140 registered and we needed all of them to claim a record. It was a very blustery day and quite challenging conditions."
The festival had more than 220 boats taking part and more than 1,000 crew members and visitors went to the town.
Among the gaffers taking part was Fanny of Cowes.
Fanny is one of the fastest of the small fishing cutters still sailing today and was built in Cowes for the Paskins family in 1872.
She is now berthed on the River Orwell, Suffolk.
Thomas Paskins moved from Itchen Ferry on the mainland to Cowes in 1853. The family took over and restarted the Island’s then failed Newtown oyster beds and also founded a successful fish and oyster merchants, as well as a fishmongers that ran until 1971 in Cowes.
Fanny was a working boat for more than 60 years, mainly taking sacks of oysters across the Solent.