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#DublinRiverfest- The 101 year old cruising yawl Ainmara is among the many participating vessels to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Old Gaffers Association (OGA) at the Dublin Port 'Riverfest' this Bank Holiday Weekend (1-3 June), writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 36ft Ainmara, is to make her centennial return to the River Liffey having been built downriver in Ringsend just over a century ago in 1912. She is owned by the noted Strangford Lough sailor, Dickie Gomes who has spent nearly three decades on her restoration.

So what is a gaffer?... it is a nautical terminology for a boat that has a main sail with 4 sides rather than the typical triangle you see commonplace on modern yachts.

The gaff is the wooden pole across the top of the sail, which is a pretty old type of rig, however by the early 20th century it was largely replaced by the triangular Bermudan rig, which was thought more efficient. As for lovers of gaff-rigged craft, the OGA still think gaff is best!...

Ainmara is part of a visiting fleet of OGA gaffers currently at sea, some of whom will be heading this way to compete in the Dublin Bay events over the course of the weekend.

The flotilla will take part in the annual Traditional Sailing Boat Rally of the Dublin Branch of the OGA to be held at Poolbeg Boat and Yacht Club & Marina in Ringsend over the long week-end.

Not to be missed is the highlight of OGA 'Parade of Sail' 50th anniversary celebrations this Sunday 2 June (starting at 4pm), where the largest gathering ever of East coast gaffers and from the UK will meet in the confines of the Liffey. According to the festival programme the flotilla of tallships which are due to arrive from today will also be involved.

Such a setting presents both action and colour on the river as the Old Gaffers are to form a striking contrast against the  modern backdrop of the Samuel Beckett swing-bridge with its sail-like harp-strung construction.

 

Published in Tall Ships

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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