It might not involve much racing but it’s hard not to be impressed with one of the biggest events in the Manx sailing calendar. When it comes to attracting crews to cross the Irish Sea and visit the island, the Peel Traditional Boat Weekend has no rival.
Over 30 boats of all shapes, sizes and rigs are descending on Peel for the 2014 event, taking place from today (Friday) until Sunday. Pictured above are 65ft Welsh schooner Vilma, last year’s winner of the Henry Kelly trophy for best boat, and the 102-year-old Irish yawl Ainmara.
Onshore there’s always a few familiar faces from the sailing community taking part in the quick and dirty boat building competition. The contraptions will take on water take to the water for a race across the harbour at 3pm on Saturday.
Meanwhile the traditional boats will be leaving the marina from 10.30am on Saturday for the first of two parades of sail around Peel bay, with the second taking place on Sunday from 11.15am before the visiting boats head for home.
Mike Clark and his team of volunteers always put on a great event and their efforts were deservedly recognised last year with a win in the Charity, Cultural and Social Enterprise category at Isle of Man Newspapers’ 2013 Awards for Excellence. The team have also won the Peel Town Commissioners Trophy for outstanding service to the community.
This year they have produced a Traditional Boat Guide, which offers a detailed history for each of this year’s participants. They’re available at the sailor’s shelter on East Quay for just £3.