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Bass Week entries approaching 100 with 9 days to the discounted entry deadline

by Paul Allen 1 Jun 2019 09:48 BST 3-11 August 2019
Andy Smith & Phil Hodgkins on their way to winning one of the famous Bass Week pursuit races © Peter Mackin

Entries for ONE Bassenthwaite Lake Sailing Week are approaching 100 boats. Some of the fleets are already looking strong, with bumper numbers of Lasers, Solos, Enterprises, GP14s, Mirrors, RS400s and RS200s already entered! The big discounted entry deadline for racing and camping ends on the 9th June, if you're thinking of joining us this year you need to enter soon!

As we approach two months till we welcome new and old friends to the greatest family sailing week, we thought we should highlight some of the reasons visitors return year on year, in some cases decade after decade!

Bassenthwaite SC member and Ginger Boats owner, Phil Hodgkins is again sponsoring the new Dragon Force 65 race. With young and old sailors racing off the end of the jetty, last years radio sailing mini series was a ferociously competitive with 22 boats on one start line! Phil and his helm Andy Smith are gold fleet sailors in the GP fleet, sailing their Ginger Boats built GP14. This year they are missing the national championship and have entered Bass Week instead. We thought it would be interesting to hear why?

Q1) Phil, you and Andy Smith sailing a Ginger Boats GP14 won two races at last years world championship. A few people were surprised to hear you are missing the 2019 national championship in favour of Bass Week?

For the past 8 years I've been to either the GP14 Worlds or Nationals, these events normally fall on the same week as Bass week. This year the nationals again fall on the same dates as Bass week. For a change I decided to have a year off to do Bass Week instead. Work is very busy and having my workshop just down the road means I will be able to enjoy all the sailing and social, and get plenty of boat building done. Also this year I am trying to encourage my Step Daughter into sailing, the week is an excellent opportunity to introduce her to racing along with her friends. The racing although competence has a very friendly feel, helped by the amazing atmosphere back on shore. We have had some of the best sailors in the country take part which shows how highly the event is regarded. It's great to see such a diverse range of boats and sailors taking to the water, the racing is exceptional well managed by the race team with several opportunities to win a prize. The social side is just as well run as the sailing and caters for all, kids are well entertained and adults, if wanted, can get well lubricated at the bar. As much as I will miss this years Nationals I am looking forward to a different pace of sailing. It will also be an excellent opportunity to catch up with old friends, many of which I only get to see at this event. Next year it will be back to business as usual as I will be off to Ireland for the GP14 worlds.

Q2) You have chosen to sponsor Bass Week again and the Dragon Force radio sailing race. Why have you done this and why do the values of the week resonate so much?

I joined the club 22 years ago, in that time it has provided me so much, it has been instrumental in getting me to where I am today. None of my sailing or business success would have been possible without the support, coaching and life lessons passed on by many of its members. Sponsoring Bass Week is a way of giving back to a club that has provided me with so much. Bass is a family friendly club with sailing and racing at it's core, this ethos is reflected in Bass Week as well. As part of the week I am sponsoring the DF65 Racing for the second year, this event has a relaxed yet highly competitive atmosphere and had a great turn out in 2018. This year we hope for an even bigger fleet with lots of close racing and a bumps and crashes!

For the 9 days of the event, Ginger Boats will be providing on-site boat repairs and maintenance. If you have jobs to do on your boat why not give Phil a call before the event starts.

Bass Week is as much a social week as a sailing week. Many visitors choose to camp together, making club base camps! New for 2019, sailing clubs with more than ten entries will be rewarded with a £100 voucher to spend at the bar! Swarkestone Sailing Club has already reached 10 entries so we thought we would catch up with Nigel and Belinda Odonnell.

Q1) Nigel, you and your wife Belinda have been mixing it up at the front of the multi-class medium handicap fleet for the last few years. We have seen a gradual increase in entries from Swarkestone Sailing Club, do you think you will break the magic 10 this year and qualify for the new reward scheme for club with more than ten entries?

We have Visited with Swarkestone Sailing Club for just over 8 years now. Back then we had an old Wayfarer Mk2 Cruiser and we judged our success on how few Enterprises caught and passed us!. It was because of Bass we put a spinnaker on the boat (thanks to Neil Garrison), that led to a new boat and we now participate in national and international events. There really is nothing else like Bass to prepare you for what any event may throw at you.

Swarkestone have had a hardcore of visitors year on year and attracts new members from the club to come along. The same will be the same for this year with 7already signed up and another 5 yet to sign up. With the added incentive of £100 beer voucher for clubs who have 10 or more boats I'm sure, we will hit the 10 this year.

Q2) Each year, at the end of the Sunday prize giving, you speak on behalf of all visitors and thank the Bass Week committee and all the volunteers. Why do you do this?

Id like to say that I was destined to do the speech and made my self available, but in reality, the reason I started doing this was that one day, out of the blue, a bit like Mr Ben, a man appeared and asked if I would take on the task. As quickly as he appeared he disappeared and the task was mine. The job is an honour and I am still to this day truly in awe of what you achieve during this week. You managed to combine a professionally run major regatta like clockwork. You combine competitive racing at the very top level on the water, with a relaxed, friendly and fun atmosphere off the water.

Q3) And finally, Bass Week socials are legendary, from the quiz night to discos and live music. The Swarkesrone crew are regulars at the bar! As a great story teller, regale us with your favourite Bass Week social story?

Legendary, oh yes, there nothing quite like coming off the water after a bad race and having a beer or two to drown your sorrows. Slowly the bad tacks disappear from memory, as does the missed shifts. With every beer, your sailing becomes better and better. Before you know it you dancing like no ones watching, singing at the top of your voice to the band trying to do pull-ups from one of the roof beams and telling any who will listen how much you love them.

For anyone reading this who has been before, you will know what I'm talking about, for anyone who hasn't been and are contemplating it, it really is a great week for all abilities, young or old. It is a week where either your sailing or off the water talking rubbish about sailing and not a lot else. Your real life disappears as the week goes on, you make new friends and you become consumed. A real tonic.

Entry is now open via The One Bass Week website which can be accessed via Entry fees are frozen at 2018 prices, youth sailors pay even less, benefiting from a new significantly reduced fee and clubs with 10 or more entries will be rewarded! Entries can be submitted online or the entry form can be downloaded and printed for entries via post. Significant discounts on entry fees are available before June 9th 2019. Information is readily available on the website or contact the organisers directly via . See some of the action from last year's Bass Week below:

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