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‘Discover Portsmouth’, 13 – 15 January 2023

East Coast Gaffer, Marion, provides this report of the Association AGM weekend in Portsmouth, organised by the Solent Gaffers.

The Gaffers’ National AGM 2023, organised this year by the Solent OGA, was held during the weekend 13 – 15 January at the Holiday Inn, Portsmouth, close to the nautical centre of this seafaring city. Early arrivals were able to take a harbour tour on RAF Sea Plane tender 1502. Members also undertook a private tour of ongoing restorations on Nelson’s flag ship HMS Victory; a massive project expected to last for 20 years. Members then repaired to the hotel bar, swapping tales with counterparts from all OGA areas and sharing a convivial fish and chip supper.

Saturday saw meetings for some whilst others took the opportunity of visiting other parts of the Naval Dockyard including the Mary Rose exhibition, walking Southsea Common, ascending the Spinnaker Tower or even shopping at Gunwharf Quays.

East Coast members were prominent at the AGM itself with Mike Beckett elected as President in this, our 60th Jubilee Year. Membership had declined (slightly) and so subs were raised (slightly). We discussed our social media profile, cockpit cards, WhatsApp communication, small boat events, Gafflings (two of which reside in East Anglia) and the OGA Boat Register. Lorna, our Secretary, gave a hilarious account of plans for the Jubilee Party on the Orwell which will mark the culmination of the Round Britain cruise. East Coast members won lots of prizes for sailing exploits and for photography. Amongst these were Gus Curtis, Poppy Curtis, Ellie Rule, Steve and Beverley Daley-Yates, Paul Masters, Josh Masters and Tony Pickering.

Sunday morning saw many members embark on a fascinating tour of the ongoing boat restorations in Boathouse 4 and a final lunch for some before we headed back to our various areas.

Words & photos: Marion Shirley, East Coast OGA