For the third year in succession the Bewl Valley Boards Racing Team has won the coveted LWA ICEBREAKER trophy, prior to 1999 the title had always eluded the Bewl club. This year they dominated right from the start, both Xavier Ferlet the current World Masters Raceboard UnLimited Champion and Keith Atkinson who is the reigning UKWA Inland Formula Silver Champion managed first and second place respectively in all four races. Jay Williamson had two thirds and a fourth, resulting in third place overall for the event, Andy Copleston had a fourth and two fifth places, to put him into fifth for the day. Gerald Stock finished the day in eleventh position having had a seventh place in race four. Jon Hicks had a seventh place in the first race, which helped him into thirteenth position. Polly Copleston, Bewl’s ‘lady’ entry finished in a very respectable seventeenth place using a 7.5m sail, she was also the event’s ‘first lady’. With Bewl sailors taking four out of the first five places and ‘first lady’ they won the first round by a comfortable 80 points, this was a great start towards their third successive title.
Round two was held at Queen Mary Reservoir, near Heathrow – only light winds were forecast and without Jay Williamson and Bewl’s flying Frenchman Xavier Ferlet, who broke down on the M1 on his way to the event, Bewl just had to fight a little harder to keep on top. Keith Atkinson won the first race, after a bad start he had problems in the second race before regaining his form with second and third placings in the last two races. Andy Copleston and Alan Jackson of ‘The Chairman’s Few’ team finished on equal points overall. However the day went to a well-deserved Andy Copleston as he managed two ‘bullets’. Alan Jackson managed to just edge Keith Atkinson into third place by one point overall. Lee Copleston was the club’s next competitor in seventh place, then Gerald Stock who had an excellent day finishing in ninth position. Polly Copleston was the second lady. Bewl finished the day just 30 points ahead of the Farmoor team, this added to the Bewl victory and placed them in good order for the final round at Farmoor’s home water near Oxford.
Round three saw a very wet and windy Friday night, prior to the Saturday event. However, by the time the teams arrived at the Farmoor club the clouds were clearing, the rain had stopped and despite a Force 4 being forecast it looked as though the LWA might have to abandon the event through lack of wind! Farmoor is always a difficult event for the Bewl team to field a full compliment of ten sailors – needing eight to count, it is a long journey from Kent at a time of year when the weather can be far from inviting, with fog and ice not unknown. Keith Atkinson hoped to use his Formula kit if the wind was strong, hoping for the forecasted conditions he rigged his huge 12.2m sail plus a 9.8m. The briefing was delayed due to a number of key people being stuck in a huge traffic jam on the A34, by the time it eventually took place they had a good 10/15 knots of wind. Xavier Ferlet, as usual, arrived with just 10 minutes to go before the first race and this time even he was in a panic! Andy Copleston, Bewl team captain, had managed to get just seven Bewl competitors to Farmoor for this round of the series, so Xavier’s arrival as number eight was crucial to the team. After the windless start to the day at Farmoor the races were after all well catered for with wind and the Formula guys were going well, Xavier had three straight wins before leaving early in the afternoon for another engagement. Andy Copleston finished the day in third place, Lee Copleston also had a good day; despite feeling ill, he finished fifth. Keith wasn’t on form in the first two races he had second and third placings. It wasn’t going to get any better for him after lunch as varying wind strengths and the gusty conditions in races three and four caused him to make the wrong choice of sail size which dropped him to seventh place overall.
As in the previous two years, Bewl then had a nail-biting wait for the prizegiving. The results for the day’s event were read out first and Bewl were runners up to ‘The Chairman’s Few’, this left the Bewl team in even more doubt as to the overall final outcome of the 2001 series. After several tense minutes the final overall results were then read out in reverse order. “Queen Mary” came third with 1124 points, “The Chairman’s Few” were second with 838 points and the 2001 LWA ICEBREAKER Champions with 731 points were BEWL for the third consecutive year.
The majority of the 2001 Bewl Valley team come from Kent:
Andy, Polly & Lee Copleston reside in Bexley, Keith Atkinson in Wilmington near Dartford. Graham Drake, Mike Henderson, Alan Marriott, Paul Janes, Jon Hicks Jay Williamson & Paul Hiscock all come from the Tunbridge Wells area. Gerald Stock lives in Canterbury, Xavier Ferlet in Northampton and Mark Holder, Henley on Thames…
David Atkinson – BVSC Boards Fleet Captain
Bewl Valley Sailing Club
40 Warren Road
Kent DA1 1PL
07971 641 427