Praise for port from race organisers
MORE sailing events will come to Dartmouth after the successful J80 class world championship.
Harbour chiefs and council officials are keen to attract further international sailing events in the wake of a highly successful championship which saw 76 yachts from nine countries descend on the historic port.
The facilities laid on by the harbour authority, South Hams Council, the Royal Dart Yacht Club and the Britannia Royal Naval College have been showered with praise by event organiser Becci Eplett, marketing and operations manager for Key Yachting.
She said: "It has just been amazing the response we have had from everyone we have met in Dartmouth. They have all been superb. South Hams Council officials helped steer us through the red tape and then left us alone to get on with it. I even had a resident present a poem to me saying how wonderful it was we were here."
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She added: "If the harbour authorities, the district and town councils and Royal Naval College could work together, Dartmouth could really turn itself into a major international sailing venue.
"I am looking at bringing our J-Cup race series for yachts up to 43ft here. Dartmouth can really do it. But they need to bring the people of the town along with them."
Cllr Bill Hitchins, executive member for assets at South Hams Council, said: "The J-80 world championships were a real prestige event that gave Dartmouth a great deal of kudos and has recognised its special qualities.
"It has had a beneficial effect on trade and one would want to see it going from strength to strength as an international sailing venue.
"This would be a very welcome effect to raise the attraction of the town and the surrounding area.
"It is certainly worth us having talks with the Dartmouth harbour master Rob Giles about how we could promote the area further as an international sailing venue. Bringing cruise ship business to the River Dart is totally worth our while to support."
Harbour master Rob Giles said: "It has been a very busy month. We have had superyachts, cruise liners, two visits by the Sail Training Ship Lord Nelson and jubilee pageant.
"For the J80s, there were three organisations, the Royal Naval College, South Hams Council and the Royal Dart Yacht Club — it was a perfect partnership which, with the superyachts, reaped amazing benefits."