Falmouth Sailing Week’s Champagne Race is set to continue this year, and will be the first day of racing during a shortened programme until August 15.

This standalone race is a coastal race for the larger keel boats in the Bay Fleet, with a long course between 20 and 30 miles, and can be seen anywhere from the Falmouth Bay, Gull Rock and the Manacles. The finish line is close to Pendennis Point.

First, second and third in each of the classes are awarded bottles of champagne along with trophies and cups presented at prize giving.

The origins of this race go back to 1951, when the Attorney General Sir Hartley Shawcross challenged his sailing rival ‘Jack’ Silley (the then President of the Shipping and Ship repairing Industries in Falmouth) to a private wager in their fine sailing yachts.

As part of the challenge, the loser was to give the winner a case of champagne.

A few years later the then Commodore of the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club, Philip Fox of CG Fox & Co Shipping Agents, instigated the first official Champagne Race to be sailed under the Falmouth town flag.

In recent years the Carrick Fleet were also presented bottles of bubbly for their regatta courses raced and it became known as Champagne Day.

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Sue Treener from the PoFSA race office, coordinates the trophies.

Sue said: "Over the years Falmouth Town Regatta has had highs and lows, including being down to almost a committee of one, being moved to the end of the week, and then the committee disbanding and handing the event over to PoFSA.

"It still retains Champagne Day or Race, and does attract competitors who come out for this race only in the week.

"One chap, who had been a regular in Falmouth Week, entered a few years ago, sailing down from Torquay or Brixham the day before, racing and then sailing home again.

"Boats, skippers and crews have changed over the years, but the essence of the day is still going strong.”

“Perhaps the most memorable Falmouth Town day was in 1999, when the total eclipse occurred that morning.

"The decision was that racing would go ahead as usual, but collision regs would take over in the time of darkness. So all went ahead.

"When darkness fell lights were put on and the racing continued.

"I went out on Treneglos into the bay and it was quite impressive, though no eclipse was visible. I was very surprised how many lights could be seen ashore when people were taking flash photos. All was over pretty soon and the rest of the day’s racing continued as usual.

The race will take place on Wednesday August 12. There is still time to enter. Find out more at: https://falmouthweek.co.uk/race-management/

The history of this race is being researched by Jane Wright from the Port of Falmouth Sailing Association. If you have any stories or photographs please get in touch by email: jane@silverhill22.plus.com