Yacht built in Arnside in 1888 sets off on a Round Britain Voyage

Yacht built in Arnside in 1888 sets off on a Round Britain Voyage

Bonita a yacht built by Crossfields of Arnside in 1888 set off on a Round Britain Voyage on Monday 1st May.

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Bonita is one off 22 boats taking part in the event. The voyage is being organised by the OGA, the national association for gaff rig sailing, one of the country’s leading classic boat organisations to celebrate their 60th Anniversary. It should take just under 100 days to navigate round Britain. The event started from Ramsgate in Kent on Monday.

Bonita was built in 1888 for Edwin Wrigley, the owner of Holme Island off Grange-over-Sands. She competed regularly in races for the Royal Barrow Yacht Club, coming second in the Dukes Cup in 1889. She is currently owned by Mike Beckett, the President of the OGA. Bonita was brought by Allan Beckett his father in 1938 and has remained in the family ever since. Allan was involved in the design of the Mulberry Harbours used in Normandy Landings in 1944.It will be the second time that Bonita has sailed round Britain. She completed the voyage in 2013. In 2016 Bonita sailed from Kent to the Baltic.

Alasdair Simpson for Arnside Sailing Club said “We wish Mike, Bonita and his crew well in their voyage round Britain. It is a magnificent achievement to sail round Britain, let alone in a yacht built 135 years ago in 1888.”

“It is interesting to reflect what life would have been like in 1888 when Bonita was launched. The houses on Arnside Promenade would have been new. The Promenade itself a track along the beach. The Marquess of Salisbury was Prime Minister. Cars had only just been invented in 1886. John Dunlop invented the inflatable bicycle tyre in 1888. The average wage for a 6-day week was less than £1.”

“For anybody wanting to take up sailing, we have a Try Out Day on Sunday 21st May. We run sailing courses at Arnside and Killington near Sedbergh for adults and children. Arnside Classic Boat Event is on June 4 and 5th. We own Severn, which was built by Crossfields of Arnside in 1912. Severn is currently being restored with the help of a National Lottery Heritage Fund Grant and should be back on the water in 2024. Arnside has long been a sailing centre with the village’s first club formed in 1852.”

“You can follow Bonita’s progress on the OGA’s website and on the owner’s blogsite   http://bonitayawl.blogspot.com

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