BOATS IN THE BAY 2010 - another success for St.Ives.
As the day approached things were looking bleak for the organisers of this annual celebration of luggers held at St.Ives - poor weather had deterred the star performers Barnabas and Happy Return from attending and Ripple, having sprung a serious leak, was escorted back to Newlyn by the Sennen Cove lifeboat. As it turned out last Saturday's Boats in the Bay proved to be another joyous occasion drawing at least as many participants as last year and considerably more interest. The annual event, now in itsí 5th year, is organised by the St.Ives Jumbo Association and is the only one of itsí kind on the North Cornish coast.
In addition to the jumbo William Paynter, newcomers this year were Celia Elisabeth, a stout open lugger built by the Falmouth Marine School which made the trip 'round land' sailed by her current owner Peter Morgan and Holly Mae, a brand new 35' gaff cutter designed and built by Joff Rorke of Gulval which made a surprise appearance.
Fears that St.Ives' flagship lugger Dolly Pentreath, built by Norman Laity and friends, might be sold away seemed a distant memory as her new owner John-Paul Bassett and members of this well-established St.Ives family enthusiastically got to grips with 'dipping the lug' for the first time.
Supporters of the Jumbo Association manning their information stall beside the Shamrock Lodge were kept busy throughout the day and raised nearly £600 through sales and new memberships which have now reached 160. Their co-ordinator, Andy Smith exclaimed "We've seen a new level of interest and goodwill expressed by passers-by which suggests a growing appreciation of our aims and confidence in our ability to achieve them."
Meanwhile out in the Bay some 30 sailors were enjoying their first taste of lug rig - a role for which the jumbo is ideally suited. Among them Andrew George MP, who chose to celebrate his birthday with his son crewing aboard William Paynter. Another cause for celebration - this time, a wedding anniversary- prompted a lady to buy a membership for her husband whilst he sunned himself on the beach. Minutes later he was 'having the time of his life' out on a jumbo!
The first jumbo Celeste was helmed by her owner 'Bean' Goodden and his son Luke. Bean, who had the courage to finance her building in 2007, deserves credit for making jumbos a reality for today.
As the boats returned to the harbour, they were greeted by the voices of the Cadgwith Singers who had struck up outside the Sloop. Janette Eathorne, who has watched the Jumbo Association develop since the launch of a replica of her father's punt in 2005, was on hand with her entertaining anecdotes to present the prizes donated by Seaware of Penryn and The St.Ives Fishermen's Cooperative.
"Every year we have been lucky enough to build on our previous success and evidentally today has been no exception." said spokesman Jonny Nance
"This is only possible because of the generosity of the contributors which allows us to run the event without a budget for the benefit of an increasingly engaged and growing community."
The evening concluded at the Castle Inn in the company of the Cadgwith Singers; their striker, David Muirhead (recently inaugurated as a bard for his services to Cornish fishing) declaring the evening 'a great night!'