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Peel Traditional Boats

Collection Issue Date: 13th May 2024

Six stunning stamps featuring artwork by Nicola Dixon

Six wonderful and vibrant artworks by talented local artist Nicola Dixon have been chosen for this stamp issue, commemorating Peel Traditional Boat week festival which started 1990.

Issue Information

Isle of Man Post Office is delighted to present six stamps to commemorate the Island’s hosting of the Peel Traditional Boat weekends. Spread over about twenty-five years, these joyous occasions have inspired mariners from all corners of the Irish Sea and beyond to share their love and dedication for these beautiful vessels, built and maintained by true nautical craftsmen.

Local artist Nicola Dixon has designed a great many posters and artworks to celebrate these exuberant occasions. Her joyous, colourful and life-affirming work selected for our stamps certainly brings the festival atmosphere to life. 

Nicola explains…

It all started when I crewed Mike Clark’s Manx Nobby White Heather (built in Peel in 1904) to a huge sailing event in Brittany, France in 1992. I loved it. The event organisers had requested that every boat decorate a wooden panel as a gift, and this job was given to me as I had some art skills. A later parade of 2000 boats between Breton ports inspired some onboard sketches and I was hooked. It opened doors to another world and I was in the thick of it for the next fifteen years. Opportunities arose to crew beautiful working boats and classic yachts in the UK and Europe. I helped cover costs by making unique badges, earrings and cufflinks on carved and painted wood featuring these colourful boats. Some small watercolour paintings were exhibited at the International Wooden Boat Show at Greenwich and things changed gear. Interesting exhibition and event opportunities in the UK and beyond followed.

I was travelling a lot, participating as crew and creating artwork for maritime events and projects in America, Holland, Mediterranean and the Caribbean. All sorts of opportunities came my way, notably an historic commission for the high-profile America’s Cup Jubilee in 2001. A print of which now hangs in the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes, and was taken on tour by Louis Vuitton following an event at in Newport Rhode Island, where I had also had a solo exhibition at the Museum of Yachting. 

However, the Peel Traditional Boat Weekend was my home event. Many friends were involved as organisers and helpers, others visited with their boats, and lasting friendships were made. It was great fun. The 90s were the heydays of traditional boat events, as there was a resurgence in restorations, and these gatherings of enthusiasts was a new and exciting thing.  There was a growing circuit of events with harbours full of maritime colour and beauty in the Irish Sea, and beyond, and every four years small fleets gathered for forays to huge events in Brittany.

To help the Peel weekend I drew simple line images for event t-shirts. They became very recognisable and collectable. After a few years I realised that if I water-coloured the images they could double as event posters.  I felt that they were a gift to the sailing world for all the good times! They were popular and six of these images have become stamps, while a stitched emblem is now a postmark and key image design.

Often the paintings featured visiting boats and were completed last minute, in order to have an idea who was intending to take part that year. The original watercolours were sometimes auctioned at the fun-fuelled festival. The PL09 framed artwork was found wrapped up in the toilets on the breakwater after a traditionally late night, the owner long departed for Bangor! Luckily it was handed in, and taken across the Irish Sea on another boat. Peel remains a popular haven for these beautiful old vessels and the traditional boat enthusiasts and there is always fun and camaraderie amongst the sailing fraternity.

The Boats

So many beautiful boats visited Peel over the years from the Island, the Irish Sea area and beyond. Many featured in my designs. There were Liverpool Nobbys, Morcambe Bay Nobbys, Bristol Channel Pilot Cutters, Cornish Crabbers, Scottish Zulus, converted fishing boats and RNLI lifeboats, Castletown One Designs, Mersey racing boats and Vilma a Danish top sail schooner. HMS Rose a square rigger visited from America, and The Peel Castle visited from Ireland.

The stout Galway Hookers were always popular, the Naomh Cronan, built in Dublin as a community project in the 90s, was a frequent visitor and features often. Another favourite was classic yacht Espanola (built in 1902), seen on the £1.60 stamp. I was on board when the owner Martin Birch was handed a plastic bag containing a silver trophy that Espanola had won racing in Ireland in the first half of the century. It then had pride of place and was used to hold Maltesers!

Local boat Master Frank is a Sailing Longliner, built in Ramsey in 1895 and lovingly restored in the 90s by Joe Pennington. Fisher Lass, Port St Mary built Manx Half-Decker was restored by the late

Mike Craine. Mike did a lot for the Fisherman’s Mission and founded the 40+ Fishing Boat Association. Margaret was built in Ramsey in the 1930s and famous for formerly being owned by one-time Manx resident and jazz pianist Ronnie Aldrich.

There are so many stories with each boat. Notably, for me, Peel Nobby Gladys PL 61 is a favourite.  Built in 1901 for the family of my primary school headmaster Tom Cashin, and somehow I knew about her from him. Gladys’ lines were documented in Edgar J March’s famous book on Herring Luggers, and she is on the National Historic Ships Register. Her story was tragic for a while…she was rescued but rotting in a friend’s garden near Galway for a few years. The owner died at sea and then his widow sold her to a sailing couple who made her seaworthy again.  She returned to the Boat Weekend in 2008 and there was great excitement among those families who had fishing connections with her. Her foredeck featured in the PL09 design. Later she was sold to Charlotte Whyte from Cornwall, who grew up living on boats. A wonderful restoration followed and Charlotte now lives on board and takes her racing with the lugger fleets. I was thrilled and a bit emotional to have the opportunity to take the helm.  

Technical Information

Images Nicola Dixon
Design EJC Design
Text Nicola Dixon
Printer Cartor
Process Offset lithography
Colours 4
Paper PVA Gummed 110gsm
Perforations 13.5 per 2 cm
Stamp Sizse 42mm x 28mm
Format Sheets of 6
Date of Issue 13th May 2024

Limited Editions:

Presentation Pack 1000

First Day Cover 1500

Collection Products

Peel Traditional Boats Set & Sheet Set
Peel Traditional Boats Set & Sheet Set

Product Code: ADG31
Product Issue Date: 13th May 2024

These beautiful stamps depict traditional boats in the Isle of Man. The issue features the artwork of Nicola Dixon, a well-known Manx artist who has painted nautical views of the Island for over thirty years.

Please Select:


Peel Traditional Boats Presentation Pack
Peel Traditional Boats Presentation Pack

Product Code: ADG41
Product Issue Date: 13th May 2024

A vibrant 4 page glossy folder packed with facts and background information about the Traditional Peel Boat Week Festival, provided by artist Nicola Dixon. Within the folder, all six stamps are presented on a black mount, making these stunning and colourful stamps 'pop' against the classic dark backdrop.

Limited Edition

Price: £11.86


Peel Traditional Boats First Day Cover
Peel Traditional Boats First Day Cover

Product Code: ADG91
Product Issue Date: 13th May 2024

The beautifully designed Peel Traditional Boats First Day Cover features all six stamps cancelled on the first day of issue and contains additional text on a filler card.

Limited Edition

Price: £11.91



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