Port welcomes largest fleet of luggers in years
The largest fleet of traditional luggers and jumbos since the days of sail gathered off St Ives for the seventh annual Boats In The Bay event.
High winds abated just in time to welcome three large luggers, Ripple, Happy Return and Barnabas, which were sailed 40 miles from Newlyn. They were joined by the Ibis from Fowey and the much smaller Celia Elizabeth, which was sailed single-handed from Porthleven by her owner, Peter Morgan.
Two other newcomers, the French lugger Avel Dro and Norwegian Girl, a small gaff cutter, were launched at Hayle.
The visiting crews were welcomed to the town by St Ives mayor, Ron Tulley.
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Organiser Jonny Nance said: "Throughout the next day a perfect combination of wind and sunshine helped to provide a wonderful spectacle and fantastic photo opportunities as the luggers spread their canvas. Morwenna, a visiting Bristol pilot cutter, joined in while waiting for the flood tide to continue to Padstow.
"The jumbos provided many of their members with an opportunity to participate and for some it was their first sailing experience. By 4pm the jumbos were back on their moorings preparing to race. To make up for the modest size of the current jumbo fleet and generally adding to the excitement of the day, the gun for the start and finish was colossal. As the smoke cleared and gulls protested, the two jumbos frantically made sail and cast their moorings aside.
"First off was Celeste, helmed by her owner Robert Goodden. Despite her leeward position and possibly because she couldn't hoist her fore-lug properly, William Paynter, managed to keep up and, by the second leg, had taken the lead. However, once on the wind beating back to the harbour entrance, William Paynter found she was out-pointed by Celeste, which managed to sneek past the end of Smeaton's Pier to win the race."
St Ives Jumbo Association was established to celebrate the maritime heritage of the town and to start a racing class of boats which were once common to the port.
"It is very gratifying that Boats In The Bay enjoys such popularity among the lugger fraternity, despite the considerable difficulty of sailing here," said Jonny. "The success of this event has created a sense of momentum and direction which bodes well for next year."
The event concluded with a customary evening of song at the Castle Inn supported by the Cadgwith Singers and a barrel donated by Cornish Crown Brewery. For more information, visit: www.stivesjumbo.com