Isle of Man Post Office has released a clutch of new stamps commemorating the Peel’s annual Traditional Boat weekends.

Dating back to 1990, the events have inspired mariners from all corners of the Irish Sea and beyond to share their love for the vessels, built and maintained by nautical craftsmen.

Over the years, Isle of Man artist Nicola Dixon has designed a series of posters and created a number of pieces of art celebrating the event.

Her work will now be immortalised on a set of six stamps set to be released in May.

Nicola the Peel Traditional Boat Weekend means a lot to her.

She said: ‘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.

Peel Traditional Boats Set & Sheet Set
Peel Traditional Boats Set & Sheet Set (Isle of Man Post Office)

‘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.

According to Nicola, the 90s was the heyday of traditional boat events owing to a resurgence in vessel restorations,.

She said the original gatherings of enthusiasts was a ‘new and exciting thing’. 

She added: ‘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 stamps are set to be issued on May 13 and are available for pre-order now at