What are the Old Gaffers?
Since the 17th century, yachts and many fishing boats favoured the Gaff rig, where the mainsail has a spar at the top called the gaff, and the boom at the bottom. In the 1920s this was superseded by the Bermudan rig with a triangular mainsail and boom at the bottom only, seen on most modern yachts and dinghies. Many Gaffers, however, have been preserved and today they are being built in modern materials.
There are numerous variations of Gaff rig: including the Spritsail of the Thames Barge and Optimist dinghy; and the Lugsail seen on Scows, the dinghies sailed locally, mostly in the River Yar.
In 1959 three Gaffer skippers organised their own race in the Solent and now the OGA (Old Gaffers Association) boasts over 1,400 members in the UK.
Where to Watch the Sailing.
Watching the Old Gaffers race is a wonderful spectacle.
In Yarmouth, the Common at the top of the High Street is a good place to see the sailing East of the Harbour.
Norton Beach; which can be reached via the Harbour Water Taxi, or by walking across the River Yar Bridge is a lovely spot to see the racing West of the Harbour.
Our newly refurbished Yarmouth Pier will be a great vantage point.
Want to enter your boat?
We welcome entrants from a wide range of classes, levels of experience, local and visiting boats.
For more information about the Regatta programme, please contact the Solent Gaffers team at the OGA for more information.