Please select your home edition
Cyclops Marine 2023 November - LEADERBOARD

Bournemouth Digital Poole Week 2023 – Day 5

by David Harding 24 Aug 22:03 PDT 20-25 August 2023

In the context of one of the south coast's biggest regattas, it might seem strange to say that it's not all about the sailing. But in the case of Poole Week, it never has been.

Sailing is the focus, of course, and it's the sailing that brings people together. The coming together is what makes it for many of those who take part. The mornings are free so you can do other things. Then you have six afternoons of racing in Poole Harbour, and the evenings to relax at Parkstone Yacht Club, enjoying good company and what many people consider to be one of the finest views in England.

And when there's no sailing? Over the course of a six-day regatta, it's always likely that one day, or possibly two, will be lost to the weather. Thankfully, sailors are generally sociable creatures and, by their very nature, pretty resourceful too. Finding ways to pass the time when it's not possible to go afloat rarely presents a challenge.

If the sailing has to be cancelled, it's normally due to too much wind or too little. On the Thursday of this year's Poole Week, it was too little, plus the satellite image of a band of lightning in the English Channel seemingly heading straight towards Poole. It also happened to be raining, not that that really matters. You can sail in the rain. Sailing in no wind is harder, and setting sail into the path of a big patch of lightning might be seen by some as unwise. One boat did venture out for a sail anyway, once the rain had eased and the wind gusted briefly to all of six knots. It wasn't a Flying Fifteen, because they were all at their golf tournament.

A day off gives everyone a chance to take stock and, for those who are serious about winning, to consider their chances of lifting the Britannia Cup. This impressive piece of silverware, bearing many illustrious names, has a long history and a royal pedigree (King George V won it in 1924). It's awarded to the top boat of the week, the calculation using a formula that takes into account factors including the boat's total points score - significantly, without discards - and the number of entrants in the class. Various names were mentioned at the daily prize-giving as possibly being in the running, including John Tremlett in the ultra-competitive, 22-strong XOD fleet. Richard Whitworth, leading the even-bigger Flying Fifteen fleet (29 entries) might be in with a shout, as might Roger O'Gorman in the ILCA 6s. And then there are those who, like Steve and Ally Tyler (fast handicap), have simply dominated their fleet to the extent that their discards include a 1st and they have already won with a day to spare.

For most competitors, however, it really is about the taking part - enjoying the racing, learning how to get the boat going better and, among other things, being in with a chance of winning one of the many randomly-awarded and very desirable prizes. These include the goody bags from Rooster that are handed out every evening. At Poole Week it's not only the race-winners who win the prizes. People who score notable results get a mention (and a prize), such as Graham Latham and Sara Briscoe in the Flying Fifteens. Starting the week with results well into the 20s, they improved with every race to score a 5th and a 4th on Wednesday.

Daily prizes - from the goody bags to caps, T-shirts and lots of beer - are still awarded on days when there's no sailing, but in Poole Week you've always had to be there to receive it. No show, no prize. It'a a good idea to stick around in the club house after racing, just in case.

One feature of Poole Week this year has been the increased use of the wider harbour for the courses. As several people have pointed out, this isn't just a regatta - it's Poole Week. You can sail windward/leeward or triangle/sausage courses on any stretch of water that's big enough, but in Poole you have a vast expanse of water, stunning scenery, and islands to sail around, so why not take full advantage of all that? As the three XODs from Itchenor proved during Tuesday's race around the islands when they filled the top three places, local knowledge doesn't seem to count for much.

So, after an enforced day ashore on Thursday, what does final Friday have in store for Poole Week 2023? In terms of results, it will decide who wins what and, importantly, who gets their name on the Britannia Cup.

It promises to be a day with a moderate south-westerly breeze, and that should please pretty well everyone. That part of the day will be all (or, at least, mostly) about the sailing. After that, it's prizes and party time.

Provisional results on

Photos on

Related Articles

4 fleets, 4 courses, 4 winners, 6 starts
77 boats finish Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre At the start in Le Havre in late October, a series of powerful low-pressure systems were sweeping across the Atlantic. Posted today at 10:04 am
International Youth Match Racing Champs Day 1
Thrilling sailing action underway at Pittwater The HARKEN International Youth Match Racing Championship is the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club's (RPAYC) most prestigious youth sailing event, which brings together talented youth sailors from around the world, for 4 days of hotly contested Match Racing. Posted today at 7:58 am
Big Boat Challenge Video by Bow Caddy Media
Nine competitors took to the Harbour in a 15 knot Nor'easter The Raymarine SOLAS Big Boat Challenge was fiercely contested in a solid 15 knot nor'easter by 9 boats. The competitors were andoo Comanche, LawConnect, Scallywag, URM Group, Moneypenny, Alive, Wild Oats X, Whisper and No Limit. Posted today at 7:33 am
An unsponsored team challenges for the title
Put Your Name Here second on the NSW 18ft Skiff Championship leaderboard The present leaderboard at the 2023-24 NSW 18ft skiff Championship is unclear because of a complicated protest, relating to last Sunday's Race 4, which is due to be held prior to next Sunday's two races in the series on Sydney Harbour. Posted today at 6:36 am
WASZP class at Sail Melbourne
Overbeck clinches victory, setting stage for thrilling Australian Nationals The Sail Melbourne warm-up regatta concluded over the weekend with nail-biting competition and exceptional sailing conditions, setting the stage for an electrifying Australian Nationals event as we continue the build up to the International WASZP Games. Posted today at 6:02 am
Call on sports teams to switch to renewable energy
The Blueprint provides organisations with the knowledge, information and contacts Global renewable energy company Low Carbon and the Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team have called on sports teams around the world to switch to renewable energy to tackle the climate crisis. Posted today at 5:45 am
Fireball Sailing Royalty Gathers Down Under
Previewing the 2024 World Championships at Royal Geelong YC With almost 60 entries to date, including 3 containers from Europe and many loan boats, competitors are coming from many corners of the globe and from most states of Australia. Posted on 5 Dec
Richomme's bold moves north are paying off
Retour à La Base sees leader double the gap behind him For the meantime Yoann Richomme (Paprec-Arkea) is pulling out the stops as he continues to lead the Retour à La Base solo IMOCA race from Martinique to Lorient. So far he has been prepared to push harder and go slightly further north. Posted on 5 Dec
BVI Yacht Sales supports Antigua Sailing Week
This is the second year of partnership with the event The leading Caribbean brokerage firm in the region, specialising exclusively in pre owned yacht sales and brokerage, BVI Yacht Sales has continuously supported and promoted sailing events that celebrate the spirit of Caribbean lifestyle. Posted on 5 Dec
SailGP changes, AC racing, Ultim dreams
David Schmidt rounds up the racing news While the world is enjoying some fantastic offshore racing, there's also been great inshore action at SailGP and in America's Cup circles. Posted on 5 Dec
Rooster 2023 - FOOTERDoyle Sails 2020 - Built for Adventure 728x90 BOTTOMCyclops Marine 2023 November - FOOTER