Coppet Week

Coppet Week last week provided the best weather for holidaying for many years and the conditions for sailors was pretty good, although the racing certainly included its frustrations and challenges.

The new arrangements to hold a single 10 am race each day proved a great success this year - whether we can repeat it for future events will however depend upon the timing of the tides.

We had no frustrating postponements leaving uncertainty on the sailing front and disruption to the arrangements for the rest of the day for families.

Racing was cancelled on the Wednesday when the forecast indicated very little, if any wind.

The wry smile on the face of a few speculators, who promised that a sea breeze would spring up, disappeared together with the last breath of wind soon after the scheduled start time, leaving the race officers feeling vindicated (and relieved!)

This decision was also coloured by the race on the Tuesday which started ok with a reasonable breeze and a large swell, but then the breeze dropped away to nothing which stymied the faster boats who were on their second lap - completely stalled.

The tenacity of the sailors was reflected by the fact that some 45 boats still managed to finish.

The penultimate leg of this race was downwind, in the little breeze that there was, to the mark which was nearest the beach, and then a gibe onto a beat to the finish line which was further out to sea.

Despite the difficulties of making this beat 'away from home' to the finish, very few competitors took the easy option and retired!

Thursday's forecast was for a decent force three, going-on four, and hopes were high for two races back to back to make-up for the earlier frustrations.

Nature does not however pander to our wants and desires and once again we suffered a very long race indeed with the wind easing away instead of maintaining a good blow.

Nobody could have foretold these events so there were no red faces, although there could well have been some red backs with the strength of the sun, which was no doubt enjoyed by the holiday makers for the rest of the day.

It was thus particularly pleasing that on Friday, the last day, two decent races were managed on two different courses in much more satisfactory conditions.

The sailing week therefore finished on a high having achieved all six races albeit over a range of very different winds.

Off the water, the days had been gorgeous for other holidaying activities and the social programme of entertainment in the clubhouse comprising - quiz, hog roast, barbecue, curry night and general chatter seemed to have all gone off really well with a bustling and cheery crowd every evening.

Prizegiving on the Friday night was of course heaving, especially as the top places were too close to call, raising the excitement for the final results which were not released until the evening.

General background

A total of 65 boats entered from 26 different clubs across the country in a vast variety of boats with handicaps ranging from 690 to 1,646. It was good to see 16 entries from Saundersfoot 'waving the flag for the home team'.

The varying wind conditions did 'shuffle the pack' more than usual and whilst the races on Sunday, Monday and Friday did see the ultra fast boats (with handicaps of 1050 or less) dominate the top places, on the Tuesday five of the top eight and on Thursday all of the top eight were boats with higher handicaps.

Indeed in race three, John Taylor came second overall in his Mirror with one of the highest handicaps of all the boats racing (1,365).

Overall the competition was very close as the week progressed with only a single point between the two leaders with one race to go.


As always, there were a number of special prizes for crews of different ages from under 10 - Cerys Godwin from Port Dinorwick (Miracle), to over 120 years - Robert and Nicola Cartwright from Blithfield (Fireball).

For prize groupings, the fleet was split into slow handicap (over 1,050) and fast handicap (under 1,050).

Slow Fleet: 3. Alex and Josh Bale, Spinnaker Club (Scorpion); 2. John Taylor, Bartley Club (Mirror); 1. Ian and Ben Fryett, Llangegfedd Club (RS200).

Fast Fleet: 3. Keith McDonald and Andy Brittain, Blifield Club (Fireball); 2. Richard Dee and Chris Gould, Midland Club (Merlin Rocket)

Overall Coppet Week Champion 2010: Gareth Caldwell, Carsington Water Club (Asymmetric Canoe). Gareth previously won Coppet Week 20 years ago in an Osprey.

Thank You

A big than you was voiced by Commodore Trevor Smith and echoed by Coppet Week champion Gareth Caldwell to all the club members who had worked so hard to provide an excellent week for all the sailors and their families.

Many had worked well beyond 'the call of duty' and without such efforts the event would not be possible.

It was hoped, and certainly it appeared, that everyone had enjoyed themselves regardless of the final positions achieved and this is indeed the whole purpose of this friendly and sociable occasion.

Club Racing 

After the glories of Coppet Week and all the efforts and hardwork involved, there were still energies for club racing last Sunday.

A fine day's sailing was had by nine boats with a good wind for two races back to back.

There was a decent breeze for the first race and then it picked up a little for the second race and was a little unpredictable near the line.

The first three places were the same for both races with Paul Griffiths (Solo) first, Peter Bower (Phantom) second and Paul Johnson (Solo) third.

All boats finished each race with some very close racing, with only five seconds separating Paul and Peter in the first race, and less than four minutes between all the competitors once the times were adjusted.

Thanks to Chris Bannister who stepped in at the last minute as race officer and ran the races from his patrol boat and to Finlay Harrison who assisted and was a great help recording and acting as our start flag!


Sail Training

The first session for beginners is tomorrow (Saturday) on the water, weather willing, starting at 1 pm. Bring suitable clothing.

Social Sail Event for All

This Sunday, there is the social sail for all types of craft and all levels of experience. For a fun evening ending in the clubhouse, please arrive in time for a 5.30 pm start.

Tenby Saundersfoot Interclub meeting

This has been arranged so that the tides allow our members to sail round to Tenby who are hosting this event for an 11 am start on Saturday, June 19.

Having the recent experience from Coppet Week behind us, it is hoped that we can put up a good showing against our nearest rivals this time! They are offering their usual hospitality in their club after the racing.

Future Club Racing

Next club racing starts at 12 noon on Sunday, June 20, with two races back to back.

Skipper's Mate