Thursday, 16 August 2018

The Folly

We left Yarmouth harbour yesterday morning.  When the harbour is full there is very little space for manoevering old boats, certainly not enough to turn Bonita under engine. However with the help of Susan J's crew and a couple of long ropes we managed to turn Bonita round to get her bowsprit pointing optimistically towards the harbour entrance, without I hope causing too much disruption. There was still a brisk SW wind so once clear of the harbour we ran back up the Solent to the river Medina under just headsails and mizzen.  In the afternoon we joined the Old Gaffers rally on pontoons near the top of the Medina opposite the Folly Inn. This rally celebrates 55 years since the founding of the Old Gaffers Association which has done so much to promote the cause of traditional and traditional-style boats.

Emanuel and Bonita
There are lots of Gaffers here already with more due on Thursday - over 100 boats are expected in all. There should be plenty of custom for the pub over the next few days. The owners of the small open boats are camping in tents in a field behind the Inn.

The picture shows Bonita next to Emanuel, built in 1928. She was sailed across the Atlantic by her first owner, Commander Graham, who wrote a book about the rather traumatic experience. She is now kept at Sandwich in Kent. Her current owner, Rob Holden originally found her in very neglected condition but has extensively restored her so she looks marvellous now with gleaming varnish and brasswork.

At supper in the Folly Inn we met some old friends and as always were amazed by some of the exploits of those who sail singlehanded. Rob produced a cake to celebrate Emanuel's  90th birthday. It seems her exact launch date is not known but today was her 'official birthday'.

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