More than 60 classic yachts and working boats will be visiting Ipswich Beacon Marina from today (August 3) - providing a rare treat for boat enthusiasts.

They are gathering at Associated British Port’s (ABP) Ipswich Beacon Marina to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of the Old Gaffers Association (OGA) this weekend.

The association was set up in 1963 to preserve traditional gaff-rigged boats - which are now being built again.

A civic reception outside of Old Customs House addressed by the Mayor of Ipswich will welcome the return of 15 OGA boats completing a circumnavigation of the UK.

On Friday (August 4) a Parade of Sail departs from Ipswich Wet Dock at around 2pm - sailing downriver to Suffolk Yacht Harbour in Levington for two days of cruising and racing in the Orwell, Stour and out to sea, dependent on weather conditions.

Members of the public are encouraged to watch this spectacle from various vantage points along the River Orwell.

The largest boat on display will be Lilian - thought to be the oldest surviving diesel gentleman’s yacht worldwide.

A restored Essex smack called Pioneer and built in 1864, and Fanny of Cowes built in 1872 and still racing under her original fishing no. CS12 will be among the oldest vessels.

The boats were once a common sight on the River Orwell and Suffolk coast.

Visitors are encouraged to come and see the vessels arriving at Ipswich Beacon Marina

Marina manager Lucy Edmonds said: “We’re really excited to welcome members of the Old Gaffers Association to ABP’s Ipswich Beacon Marina this weekend. The team is gearing up for a busy weekend ahead and it is great to see so many enjoy the waters.”

Paul Ager, divisional port manager at ABP, said the port was delighted to support the jubilee celebrations.

The port has been a long-time supporter of the OGA - hosting its annual regatta in the Wet Dock for more than 20 years since it was first opened by sailing legend Sir Robin Knox-Johnson, the first person to sail single-handed and non-stop around the world.

"ABP is committed to supporting a variety of maritime events like these long into the future,” said Paul.

Robert Hill, the Old Gaffers Association’s East Coast Area President said: “The OGA60 participants are thrilled to be able to celebrate the cumulation of a series of celebrations that have taken place across the UK over the last few months at a location that has strong connections with the founding of the organisation.

“Members of the OGA have gathered at Ipswich Marina for many years and is pleased that this year it will be host its national Jubilee celebration. Ipswich Beacon Marina is in an ideal location for members from across the country to gather as it is excellent transport connections and is also at the heart of the town with access to a great range of facilities.

“Ipswich Marina is also a natural fit for an event like this as a historic port and one of the oldest wet docks in the country.

“We want to thank ABP for their generous support in helping to make this event a reality and for sponsoring our Civic Reception and providing berthing space in the marina for participants.”

Visit to find information about where to watch the OGA Jubilee events this week, a map and link to purchase tickets to cruise on the famous Thames sailing barge Victor.