ALMOST 30 former fishing boats produced a stunning parade of sail at the 30th anniversary of the Cornwall Lugger Association's reunion regatta at the weekend.

While the crowds who bathed in the sunshine beaming down in Looe Bay were delighted to see the boats raise their lug sailing rigs, the skippers and their crews were not entirely happy.

Luggers, some now more than 100 years old, are heavy wooden-built boats and to get them moving they require more than the light breezes on offer.

The fleet nevertheless made a spectacular sight as they paraded, as Looe’s Paul Greenwood, the founder chairman of the Lugger Association explained: “We’re not really allowed to call it a race these days, so it’s a parade of sail, but with a cup or two for those who finish at the head of the parade.”

And to the fore again, just as she has been most years since being built by Peter Ferris in Looe back in 1911, was the Guide Me, skippered by Jon and Judy Brickhill and their family from Gweek, near Helston.

The 40-footer, which has sailed the globe, remains the fastest sailing Lugger overall, with the absence of a propeller shaft and engine seeing her cut through the water at knots.

She won both events on the Saturday and looked on course for a hat-trick in Sunday’s long race until falling into a wind hole.

For only the second time since the regatta was revived in 1989, the Guide Me was not the first to cross the line; that honour went to the Mevagissey-built Reliance, now based at Penryn, a few years ago - and this weekend it fell to another west Cornwall-based boat, the re-built Gleaner.

‘Spike’ Davies was debuting Gleaner, his 50-ft re-built two-masted Lugger with her dipping lug rig.

Built by Richard Kitto at Porthleven in 1878, the Lowestoft drifter later went to Norway and was brought ashore for restoration in Germany in the early 1980s.

However, that work was never completed and Cornish shipwright Davies had to save her in 2013 after a German council threatened to destroy the vessel because her presence was stopping the development of a new supermarket.

He and a team of helpers dismantled the entire boat into a container; shipped her back to Freeman’s Wharf at Penryn, and spent the next five years putting her back together.

The German connection was also elsewhere. As well as Brian Bowdler’s committee boat, Maret, a 41-ft trawler built there in 1963 and based on the island of Pellworm for a number of years, a German TV crew filmed the regatta as part of a travel documentary on Cornwall.

Cornelius Fischer said that Cornwall was hugely popular in Germany because of the Rosamund Pilcher series on ZDF TV, which was filmed in the Duchy.

“We are currently in the process of putting together items to include in our next travel programme featuring Cornwall,” he said.

“The programme is part of a long-running series on German television called Ina’s Reisen (Ina’s Travels) and is presented by Ina Müller and produced for Germany's first channel, equivalent to BBC1.”

The light airs presented a difficult challenge for Race Officer Brian Bowdler as he sought to lay courses that were both fair and entertaining.

Fuelling the crews were the buffets supplied by Karen Bowdler and her team of ‘Lugger Ladies’.

The weekend also featured a quayside concert by the Wreckers group of Polperro Fishermen’s Choir; a Saturday night ska band hoedown on the Fish Market and a static display of fishing boat models from members of the Looe Model Club.