OGA Solent Member Ben Collins reflects on Journey’s End for the OGA Sou’ by Sou’West Cruise in 2017.
Some called it a ‘rolling snowball’ – a fleet of Gaffers going westward, gathering in size as it tacked down Britain’s south coast collecting and dropping boats as it travelled. By the end over 40 OGA boats had taken part. All types and sizes.
A core of ‘toughies’ set the pace from Yarmouth to Falmouth. All boats were definitely rocked, shaken and stirred as the weather challenged us, pinning us in port.
We adopted a short dash approach to cope with the seas. Plenty of pontoon drinks parties at day’s end to celebrate our progress and fret over tomorrow’s forecast. Older boats to nurse and fix, thank goodness for the shipwright among us! Camaraderie all round, new friends made.
By the time we got to Plymouth the warm receptions of the South West OGA members along the way had invigorated us. It felt that we had been climbing a mountain but the peak was now in view.
All we needed were a few clear days of gentle winds to get to that Atlantic archipelago at journey’s end. It was not to be. As Falmouth was reached the rains returned and only the brave contemplated passing hissing Lizard gateway to the Atlantic swell. Three buccaneers took on the challenge, their stories yet to be told.