Bagwell scoops Looe Lugger prize
PUBLISHED: 15:39 09 June 2011
The largest gathering of traditional working sailing boats this year enjoyed perfect winds and sunny skies at the Looe Lugger Regatta.
Peter Bagwell won the racing class for small luggers, with Ali Green and Geoff Pook taking the placings, representing Beer Luggers Club.
In years gone by, the wooden, Cornish-built fishing boats would have worked the English Channel fishing grounds each day under sail, and the regatta’s origins date back to the times when the boats vied to become the first back in port to land the day’s catch.
Highlight of the weekend was Georgés Yvon’s giant three-masted 60-ft Lugger, La Cancalaise, an impressive three-masted vessel measuring 60-ft overall, which sailed into Looe from Cancale in France.
Built in Cancale in 1987, La Cancalaise is an exact replica of La Perle, the last of the original French sailing and fishing bisquines. But the majority of boats attending the regatta were original luggers (wooden-built boats which sailed to the fishing grounds under lug rigs, hence their rather unusual name).
It was the seamanship skills of West Country duo Jon and Judy Brickhill and their crew who stole the French thunder with an immaculate sailing display which saw them walk off with the principal trophies.
The Brickhills’ Looe-built lugger, Guide Me, was also celebrating her 100th birthday and the couple received a special brithday cake at the end of Sunday night’s presentation evening on the Fish Market,
The Guide Me has sailed extensively across the Atlantic to the Caribbean and the East Coast of the States – despite having no engine.
Built by Peter Ferris at Looe in 1911 for W Pengelly, she is 40-ft overall with a Cornish Dipping Lug rig. The Brickhills found her in the spring of 1977, discarded up Fareham Creek.
‘We knew she was a proper Looe lugger by her shapely hull but it was only after we’d bought her and motored her down to the Helford to start rebuilding her, that we discovered a little more of her history,’ recalls Judy.
A pilchard driver and long-liner, she fished out of various South East Cornwall harbours until being sold on to the Solent in 1966.
In 1988, the Brickhills sailed south, via the Douarnenez Festival, to Spain, Portugal, Tenerife, La Palma before a two-week hop to Brazil for Christmas.
They returned, via Cape Town, and later headed back to the Americas’ coastline.
The regatta was again backed by Mike Cotton’s Hillcrest House and Nursing Home and supported by all of the town’s authorities; a host of local businesses and many individuals, too. Harbourmaster Geoff Penhaligon and his staff and members of Looe Sailing Club ensured the weekend’s success.
CORNISH LUGGER ASSOCIATION 2011 biennial regatta – Large luggers, over 30-ft: 1, Guide Me (Jon and Judy Brickhill, Gweek, near Helston); 2, Reliance (Deena Russell, Penryn); 3, Ocean Pearl (Nick Gates, Emsworth, Hampshire).
Medium luggers: 1, Vilona May (Chris Rees, Millbrook); 2, George Glasson (Colin Crabb, Looe); 3, Rose of Argyll (Benôit Cayla, Douarnenez, France).
Small luggers: 1, Twilight (Peter Bagwell, Beer, East Devon; 2, Percy Mitchell (Ali Green, Beer, East Devon); 3, Moondance (Geoff Pook, Beer, East Devon).
First Looe-built lugger: Guide Me.
First across the starting line: Our Daddy (Mike Darlington, Looe).
Best endeavour: I.R.I.S (Tony Knights, Brixham).
Concours d’elegance: Ocean Pearl.
Sportsman’s Trophy: Silver Stream (Robert and Pearl Simper, Woodbridge, Suffolk).
Oldest skipper: Robert Simper.
Oldest boat: Spinaway, named after a famous race horse – and described in her fishing days as ‘The fastest piece of wood in Polperro’ – this Polperro Gaffer was built by Peter Ferris in 1896.
Boat which came fartherest by sea: La Cancalaise (Georgés Yvon, Cancale, France).
Pegasus Shield: Happy Return (Mark Mitchell, Penzance).
Spirit of the Regatta: Gem (Jo Ashbridge, Penryn).
For more details about the Association, please contact Paul Greenwood, the chairman of the Cornish Lugger Association, on Looe (01503) 265 380.