Coppets Week 2023 50th Anniversary Report

Saundersfoot Sailing Club celebrated a great milestone last week, the 50th anniversary of Coppet Week, our annual regatta. 52 crews signed up to race in what turned out to be incredibly close and competitive sailing, with wall-to-wall sunshine and wind conditions to test all abilities.

As the racing is held over the late May holidays the seaside resort of Saundersfoot in West Wales was buzzing with visitors. The atmosphere was also felt in the club house during the evening social events which included such entertainment as a live band and artisan curry night.

Out on the water the heat was also on, along with the sunscreen, for many of the regular competitors to put in a good performance, we were lucky enough to welcome back many crews who have been coming to Coppet Week not just for a few years but for decades!

Race 1

The first day of racing was quite eventful with a good F4 gusting F5 (6!). The wind was forecast North Easterly direction but it was shearing off the headlands so was deviating around quite a bit.

The fleet all started cleanly and headed out on a port triangular course, there were a few capsizes and retirements before the start gun and this continued on during the racing.

Great racing in testing conditions was had by all, Osprey Odeline (Blithfield SC | Gareth Caldwell | Jon Gibbons) clinched the win and the RNLI pennant, with proceeds from this race going to support the invaluable activities of the RNLI, followed by Chris Martin and Josh Oates in Merlin Rocket Qucksilver and Julian Owens from PYC in Blaze Blue Whale.

Race 2

There was a bit of a Squeeze at the start at as the wind had shifted making the shore buoy favourable, the generally Southerly wind started dropping gradually during the race and continued moving about a bit so made for some great technical racing as shown by all. Another triangular course was set offshore from Wisemans beach. A perfect day for the Blazes with the fleet all finishing high up on the score card and a win from Blaze Bad Boy II (Pembrokeshire YC | Stefan Smart) as the Ospreys went about a bit of match racing!

Race 3

Perfect day’s weather for sailing, maybe the Southerly winds dropping a little light during the afternoon but another day of great racing with 50 boats on the tightish start line. A couple of individual recalls on the gun but there was a great view as the fleet headed towards Monkstone point before beating out towards Pendine and a run to Amroth.

Another tight race between the Ospreys with Dave Griffiths and Maurice Clarke in Carpe Diem winning the day’s contest. Out in front though was IC Black Betty (Tenby SC | Robin Wood) romping away in perfect conditions for the IC and taking the race win.

Race 4

A Southerly F3 was moving around to the west which caused the OODs to move the trapezoid course further out to sea and past the Monkstone headland after a couple of general recalls due to a difficult start.

The wind continued to move about and was slowly dropping over the course of the race and became very patchy and light in places.

Good result for Saundersfoot boat RS200 Rockstar (Saundersfoot SC | Alex and Matilda Farr), followed in by a Tenby Osprey Dan and Matt and the ever-present Quicksilver.

Race 5

This was simply a gorgeous day to be racing in Saundersfoot bay.

More fine weather and wind from the South, a good clean start and soon the fleet was stretched out over a large triangular course with the gybe mark out from Wisemans beach.

Race 5 saw another win for IC Black Betty (Tenby SC | Robin Wood) followed by Local Osprey Carpe Diem and another Osprey Jammy Dodger. (Oscar and Lisa Chess)

The final results for the week’s series after a week of close racing which had seen the overall lead change several times the overall winners of Coppet Week 2023 were Chris Martin and Josh Oates from Midland SC/Bartley SC in their Merlin Rocket Quicksilver. The club were delighted that one of the people responsible for initiating Coppet Week 50 years ago, Keith Jones from Greensforge Sailing club, was at the prizegiving and after he was presented with a 50th anniversary commemorative glass and T-shirt Keith then presented the prizes to all the winners 

Also, a good showing from a couple of the local crews, 2nd were Dave Griffiths and Maurice Clarke from Saundersfoot SC sailing an Osprey Carpe Diem and 3rd place went to Daniel Jackson and Mathew Goldwait from Tenby SC in their Osprey with Alex Farr and his family being 4th overall in an RS 200.

In addition, there were class prizes for the following classes: Solo Alasdair James (Grafham Water); GP 14 Neil Davies and Michelle Evans (Chase SC): Laser Radial Elsa Minton (Chase SC); Laser Finley Watson (Chase SC)

On the last day of sailing the traditional pursuit race started on a glorious morning in Saundersfoot bay, wind was F2 / F3 southerly which filled in as the race progressed bringing the faster Opsreys swiftly through the fleet, and the race was won by Osprey Carpe Diem (Saundersfoot SC | Dave Griffiths | Maurice Clarke) ahead of the Ospreys of Mike and Pam Murray and then Dan Jackson and Matt Goldwait. The 1st GP was again Neil and Michelle (6th), 1st Solo Alisdair James (7th), first RS 200 Paul & Julia Griffiths (Saundersfoot SC) and 1st Laser again Finley Watson 

The club are very grateful and appreciative of all the local businesses who provided spot prizes for the competitors and helpers throughout the week which helped to create a pleasant atmosphere.

A massive thanks to all the helpers and volunteers that made Coppet Week possible, it was a brilliant week with some fantastic racing and social events. The general feedback from the competitors and families was an amazing, well-run week, with lovely friendly hosts. Thank you for coming, we hope you all enjoyed The Coppet Week 50th Anniversary regatta.