Our featured boat for May is much newer than earlier ones, being only 11 years old! Your Editor is keen to prove the ‘old’ Gaffers don’t have to be that old (the members or the boats, of course). ‘Lahloo’ is barely a teenager but an active member of the East Coast OGA fleet, she’ll be taking part in the OGA60 Round Britain Cruise leaving Ramsgate this weekend, 1 May, 2023.
‘Lahloo’ is a Cornish Crabber 26, now owned by Richard Bailey. Built in Rock, Cornwall in 2012 she is out of the David Thomas stable and is a sea kindly, well thought through gaff cutter, combining tradition with modern comfort and efficiency. Her skipper, Richard thinks he probably caught the gaff bug at a very early age. His grandfather owned the much older gaffer, ‘Tasma’, OGA no. 365, an 1897 smack yacht. He grew up with a 10’ clinker gunter rigged dinghy, before racing dinghies and eventually sailing an S&S Tartan Ten which he raced offshore around the East Coast.
‘Lahloo’ came to Mersea in 2016 from her first owner in Poole via a late Autumn delivery, with easterlies that almost doubled her engine hours. Having joined the OGA, 2017 saw her first East Coast Race, which she has entered almost every year since. She went down to Cowes for OGA55 and the Solent Race had the ideal conditions she was designed for, a long, tough up tide beat, which meant she returned with an unexpected number of trophies. This included the ‘Generation trophy’ as skipper Richard was racing with his son.