Appalling weather disrupted the last-ever Peel Traditional Boat Weekend, an event that has been running since 1990.
Many of the vessels intending to arrive for the weekend were confronted by unfavourable sailing conditions, with a forecast for torrential rain and winds over the weekend further dampening the spirits of attendees, who would face a long thrash back across the Irish Sea.
Those that did make it across, including Joe Pennington, who sailed a Ramsey longliner across from Cumbria for the event, enjoyed a last opportunity to network with fellow enthusiasts, exchanging knowledge, techniques, materials and equipment, as well as making the most of the breakfasts provided as part of the festival welcome.
Organiser Mike Clark confirmed earlier this year that this would be the final year for the event, which has seen a gradual decline. Twenty traditional boats – many of them originally built for fishing – were due for this final year, down from a peak of 53 vessels in 2013.
“There just aren’t the boats around any more,” he said. “The committee, many of whom have served since the start, have decided to hang up their oilskins.
“Young people aren’t interested, and of the old guys that own them at the moment, some are getting too old to look after them, and if not, too old to sail them over here. The people that do attend have always said they really enjoy coming here, but the numbers that come reduce every year.
“Perhaps the pages of Fishing News would be a good place to thank everyone who attended over those 33 years and also those who supported it with sponsorship, physical support or donations and who believed in what we were doing – our little bit to try to safeguard these lovely old boats and everything to do with them.”
This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.50 here.
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