The Next European(?) Adventure – Survey Results

With 86 responses in and some fairly established patterns emerging I thought I’d share what the consensus was. First of all the good bit is that 55/59 responders who attended Carnac 2014 said they would go again. Also of the 30 who didn’t come but filled in the survey 18 said they would come and 10 were maybes so it looks like the potential is there for an even bigger event next time. Some of the other outcomes:Dates
The favourite dates wise was May 2016 followed by May 2017, as someone pointed out an early Easter next year might mean clashes with skiing holidays. There were also requests to use bank holidays, make sure it is in school holidays and keep it away from Nationals. I am assuming most nationals are in August for the next couple of years so May is looking most likely to fulfil all of those.Venues
This is an interesting one so first of all the numbers: Barbados 23 votes, Carnac 62, Garda 51, La Rochelle 57, Santander 37 and Other 19. The others mentioned were Medemblik, Sri Lanka, Hyere, Sardinia, Kiel, Scilly, Flanders, Jersey, Nieuwpoort, Ireland, Brazil, anywhere cheap, Bilbao and Holland.

Carnac coming out on top is maybe not a surprise given how things went last year. Personally, I think we should try somewhere new. There are lots of good venues out there, we were incredibly lucky with the weather last year and, for the same reason most of us only go back to favourite championship spots every few years, without change things are liable to go stale. I would like the next one to be even better and I’m not sure how easily that can be achieved if we just try and recreate last year.

Some personal thoughts on the others – Medemblik I’ve not been to since 2000 and would be a reasonable venue but i’d rather go somewhere a bit warmer if possible, likewise Ireland. The other one I’ve been to of those was Nieuwpoort in 2008 and I personally didn’t think that much of it but maybe we were unlucky when we went. Sri Lanka and Brazil i’ll put in with Barbados in a second. The others i’m sure would be nice but nothing I’ve heard so far would make me pick them over one of the other venues but feel free to convince me otherwise. Container venues e.g. Barbados / Sri Lanka – yes time and cost would go up, no doubt about it. But if you could have a 2 week holiday on a tropical beach, 1 week of which was sailing then it might not be so bad. An event in late Feb could see boats loaded in Jan and back for April – school hols might be tricky but your overall sailing time is unlikely to be any lower when you compare a week long event to a few early season open meetings. Plus i’m guessing the sailing might be a tad more enjoyable… Containers are extra hassle so maybe not this time but I don’t think it’s as unfeasible as some may think so I wouldn’t rule it out for the future.

La Rochelle is nice – good club and decent sailing. it’s a bit of a longer drive from some ferry terminals than Carnac but from memory maybe slightly easier from Calais. I remember it being a bit of a walk from the club to the town.

Garda – some comments said it’d be better with a trapeze boat. To some extent yes maybe it is, I’ve sailed both twin and single trapeze boats there and it is amazing. But it’s still an amazing venue and personally I still like sailing a hiking boat in 20 knots and sunshine. Although I also have an RS800 which I could take when the RS’s next go I would definitely still take our Scorpion if the chance was there. It is a longer drive (12 hours from Calais I think) but there are also budget flights to Verona at the southern end of the lake (regular buses / lifts / taxis can easily be sorted) if someone takes the boat.

Santander I’ve not been to but the overnight ferry drops you off 1km from the club… we would maybe have to go for a week (event doesn’t need to be all week though) but overall driving distance is potentially the lowest and it’s meant to be a nice place. It’s also likely to have the best weather. The other thought could be to have the prizegiving and last night party on the overnight ferry home!

At the moment the plan is to check what the different clubs availability is like, check for any issues mentioned below and then make a decision.

4 days (54) came out ahead of 1 week (33). As someone pointed out it depends a bit on venue but I got the impression most people liked the option of tacking a non sailing bit to the holiday on the end so would guess we’d look to do something similar again. Maybe Sun – Wed depending on necessary travel time though.

Biggest issue
Cost (42) and venue quality (36) were a little ahead of time off work and distance to the venue (28). The comments also requested family friendly which I think most of the suggested places are (and good quality) and in school holidays. This does have a major impact on the cost unfortunately but I think it makes sense for the majority so we’ll just have to find ways to keep costs reasonable.

The Carnac format seemed to work for most but it wasn’t particularly conclusive so again, here are the numbers:

Lots of races
Lots of shore time / lay day
Class racing only
Mix of series (e.g handicap / class / pursuit / sprints)
Big emphasis on socials
Organised day activities for the shore party
Same as Carnac 2014
In the comments below there are a few relating to format depending on whether or not people have families in tow etc and various other factors. I can’t see how to keep them all happy so for now it won’t change too much, a couple of bits might get tweaked depending on venue etc but assume something similar and it can be refined closer the time if anyone works out how.Other comments:
Glad everyone enjoyed Carnac so much. On the plus side it means we have a pretty strong starting point and there’s no need to make any fundamental changes. I have listed most of the comments received below but with some details removed for those that were inappropriate / might want to stay anonymous. I have also added personal thoughts in red.I will work on the free, all expenses paid event in a stunning location with perfect weather and race organisation that takes no time to get to but I’m not promising anything – we might get there 1 day but for now we’ll just have to see if we can get closer than last time…


– Just being with friend and a large mixes fleet event gave great atmosphere. This national class event should be rolled out in the UK to rival the RS event and would strength the traditional national class organisation to be seen as a united association and sailors. – interesting idea, would depend on the classes to see if they might want to run a uk version in-between international ones but can’t see anything against it

– None – great format…

– Pluses about Carnac for us were: Easy driving distance from ferry. Campsite close to club. Easy drop off and boat storage. Good launching. Great sailing water. Sunshine. Evening activities could be improved Definitely room for improvement. Please send us suggestions, the more ideas the better… (I’m assuming you have my e-mail, if not I shouldn’t be too hard to find on facebook)

– It really was a great event, only way to improve would have been to have a few more 12’s coming along next time.  Make sure you spread the word then 🙂

-To be replicated in the UK. Ie 2016 at Garda 2017 at Mount’s Bay 2018 carnac 2019 at Weymouth. Etc. – as above I think this could be a really good idea if the classes wanted to

– Sprint style races? Bit tough for the RO but could be managed. Separate start and finish lines might get the races turned around a bit quicker. A morning of topper team racing (or whatever boats the host club has) for those that fancy it? Would definitely consider a sprint series, and some inter class team racing could be very fun. Depending on location may also be able to do it just off the club house after sailing so people could spectate… definite ideas to ponder at any rate

– LOTS of drinking. Bit of chilled out cruising on some days, hardcore racing on others! – I don’t think drink levels should be increased for some people… 

– Nearby camping, good balance between racing & lay days. Camping often relies on sunshine to be as popular but i’m pretty sure most venues do have some if people want it.

– Carnac was great

– Having missed Carnac in 2014 I can’t really comment other than all the feedback I have heard from those that went was that it was a really good format that allowed plenty of time for family/sailing/socials.

– Or maybe a few more races

– Only interested in class racing. Should be at least 2 races a day and if it’s 6 days long then should have a lay day to spend with people who aren’t sailing. Lots of booze. The main focus will stay class racing but I like a bit of variety. As a new event without years of tradition we can play around a bit more than some events.

– I really enjoyed Carnac and thought the balance was about right with some great sailing!

– No lay day. If folk want non sailing time at great venue they can always stay on or arrive early. Inclined to agree and allow people to extend the holiday if they want. A lay day does lend itself to a big social but on past experience I don’t think that’s going to be a significant issue.

– Carnac was great because racing was run so well. You were on and off the water in 4 hours which allowed plenty of family time.     So maybe organise some sort of entertainment for those without families too? Or do they already have those and call them bars?? 🙂 

– Love the sprints!

– Hard to beat Carnac 2014 so a different venue may be preferable

– 2 year gap [between events] makes sense, enough to make it different but close enough to still have momentum. Definitely in school hols please  2 years will depend on potential hosts having space for us and someone organising… 

– Good deal on ferry crossing prices. Difficult during half term as they are already full (last year we got discount on some crossings only) and there has to be an incentive for the ferry company to give a discount but will no doubt ask again.

– Would be good to be on a euro camp again so everyone can stay together in the caravans! SWAG activities are good 🙂 and get rid of the tranny night! Enjoyed crews Union x Not sure what tranny night you went to, are you sure you hadn’t wandered off to a private venue on your own? As above caravans are good if weather is nice but personally I’m not convinced they should be a significant reason for picking one venue over another.

– Carmac was just superb! Had everything for all fleets and all attendees as well as accompanying families. Plus easy to get to!

– Hot girls It’s a good job this is anonymous otherwise I think half the fleet might have something to say about the implication you didn’t already have those…

– If they [partner and kids] are happy so am I Warm and sunny weather is a must Hard to guarantee the weather, does bring us back to venue selection considerations.

– I thought it was brilliant. Very well organised. The French organise nice food. Tom, you and Penny were amazing, but maybe you’ll go a bit steadier another time!! I don’t see how it could be improved. I don’t think u need to worry about me going steadier… hard to go the other way but thanks.

– Same again please  Nope, next time should be better!

– Carnac 2014 was the best event I did last year. Great format and helped by the weather. Garda would be a good option as it is an easy sell to the missus.

– If you’re willing to put the time in again to organise it again then it’s got a lot of potential to be a regular fixture in calendars every two-three years. If it does then maybe one to shift the organisation around… obviously part of me does enjoy it but i’d be very happy to watch someone else take a turn as well. 
– Carnac was fantastic – it had it all. But maybe a change of venue to help mix it up. But the camping facilities were great, places like Garda might be a little more difficult to stay on a budget. true – might need checking but sure there will be some options

– Dam you and your rules about fixing the result…. I was planning on finishing some races and fixing it so I came first… you can come 2nd with sufficient bribery / blackmail if you want??

– Make sure the sun shines and there’s reasonable breeze!

– I did the Fireball worlds in Barbados and it was EPIC! Can’t recommend it strongly enough as a great venue… Carnac also brilliant and close and cheaper. Garda is a bit hard work in a hiking boat and liable to much broken carbon! Never been to Santander but feels like a long way for what might be a short event. Length of event depends on location. Garda is hard work in a trapeze boat too, just can be different muscles that ache! Santander could be the least driving of any of them if ferries work out

– A mix of social events and free time similar to Carnac. Good camping nearby, good launching, recovery and changing facilities. Hmm somewhere just like Carnac!

– Thought Carnac was spot on. Accessible enough to minimise travel and time off work, mix of fleet and handicap racing, venue that works for shore crew. Garda, of course, would be a big draw for those sailors / classes who have never been there but is a longer trip so numbers may be harder to achieve. I also think Garda is best for skiff sailing than for the water pushers. Carnac does definitely have the access advantage. And just because Garda is good for skiffs it still doesn’t make it bad for water pushers…

– Needs to not affect nationals entry – Carnac was fantastic tho !! Bring it on There was concern that the event might have led to a reduced nats entry for the scorps last year. Looking at the entry list for both though there were very few boats that did Carnac and didn’t do the nationals and those that did only do Carnac usually had another reason for not doing the nationals so I think as long as there is a sufficient gap this is less of a concern than was originally thought.

– As cheap as possible to encourage plenty of entries. Big title sponsor. Sponsors require a lot more work on the organisers behalf – sending requests, agreeing deals, making sure our end of the bargain is kept up etc – it’s also hard to get sufficient cash from someone to reduce the cost significantly. For example £1000 would have reduced Carnac entry by £6.50 per person… So yes they would be nice and if someone wants to volunteer to sort that out then great but not my personal focus.

– Pretty much all elements of Carnac were great. Variety of accoms is important, relatively easy to get to, primarily class racing, not too much enforced fun, but a couple of great socials and a focal bar where most people will be drinking. Venue selection for time of year should take into consideration typical weather at that time of year…. looked at weather averages and as expected the further south you go the better…

– Free beer Was the wine last time not enough?

– Thought it was spot on last time.

– I cannot fault carnac, it was great racing, great venue for day and evening activities, not too far or expensive to get there.

– Lots of races / time on the water, reasonably priced as possible, evening socials with food options

– for my helm not to break himself…. 😉   your helm would quite like not to break himself next time too

Tom Jeffcoate