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Fernhurst Books celebrate 5th birthday with match racing at Draycote Water

by Gill Pearson 4 Jun 2018 18:04 BST 31 May 2018
Fernhurst Books celebrates its 5th birthday with match racing and a dinner at Draycote Water © Draycote Water Sailing Club

On 31st May, staff and shareholders from Fernhurst Books, the specialist sailing and watersports publisher, gathered to celebrate the company's fifth birthday.

Originally founded by Tim Davison in 1979, he sold the business to John Wiley & Sons in 2006. Jeremy Atkins and Tim organised a buy-back of the list in 2013 and the company has gone from strength to strength, publishing 49 books in its first 5 years, and 60 eBooks. The list now features some 130 titles with more coming every month.

This seemed too good an occasion not to celebrate and the day started off in Draycote Water Sailing Club's two SB20s. These are available for hire for corporate team building and Fernhurst Books was proud to be the first marine industry booking.

The morning was spent practising in the light winds before coming ashore for lunch while the wind built and the sun came out to create a perfect day for match racing. The teams were the Shareholders, skippered by Tim Davison, and the Staff, skippered by Jeremy Atkins (whose loyalties were divided since he is both the major shareholder and a member of staff).

But such niceties did not stop the long-standing rivalry between Davison & Atkins who have competed against each other for decades, first in Laser 2s and then Solos. The Shareholders took the first blood, followed by two victories for the Staff. In the fourth race, the Staff had a nice lead by the windward mark but then decided to go trawling for the trout for which Draycote is renowned.

Eventually the spinnaker was acting as a very effective sea-anchor and Draycote's excellent staff had to come to untie the hapless Staff team. The Shareholders were well gone by then.

It was all set up for a final deciding race and the Staff took control on the start line and never looked back. Rumours of the investment capital being withdrawn were fortunately premature. But everyone thoroughly enjoyed the sailing, including one who had never been in a boat before and one who had never raced – both intend to be back!

After birthday cake and tea at the sailing club, the participants and partners retreated to the company's registered office, a 210 year-old windmill, where an excellent dinner was served and toasts made to the next 5 years.

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