Pactolus 2016

Thu 28 - Sun 31 July 2016


The Pactolas Race & Rally started way back in the early 1970's. The idea was for a fleet from Société des Régates de Fécamp to rally to the UK ending up as guests of Sussex Yacht Club to enjoy a supper on the Thursday evening. Come Friday the French joined us to race back to Fécamp where Entente Cordiale was cemented over another supper, prizegiving and hilarious "speeches".

The name and idea came from an SYC Member, Hermione Lady Colwyn, who visited the Normandy coast frequently on her yacht 'Pactolas'.She was quite a character and fluent in "upper class" French which had the locals in stiches. All competitors received a momento from Hermione and I still have, and use, my SYC letter opener from her.

Last year Dominique Chalot and I worked hard to boost the traditions of the event and a super weekend was had by all. This year the Sailing Section have tasked me with building on the success of 2015, hence me writing this extended 'invitation'. The French will be coming, despite the referendum result, and Dom has confirmed that all will be in place at SRF to welcome us to Fécamp. So folks remember how we found Fécamp back in 1970. All straining for the null from RDF transmitters and ending up with a cocked hat some 10 miles wide, if you were lucky! The Walker log (still have mine; a beautiful instrument) streamed, was very accurate until fouled by seawead or whatever. Tidal vectors carefully prepared and updated constantly as conditions changed. The skill was to build in a deliberate up-tide error so at least you knew whether to veer to port or starboard once France was clearly visible. Now you just press a tit and everyones an expert navigator? I still think we should organise a long distance race where GPS could only be used when you retire; no having a quick peep at your watch or mobile! No doubt we would fall foul of 'elf & safety' dictats?

Pactolus 2015 14So this year our Pactolas starts with a supper at Shoreham on Thursday 28 July (all welcome) followed by our race starting on Friday morning at 08:00. The course might have a tweak or two as No.1 is, so far, off station but all will be made clear before we set off.

Do make the decision to join in. I will be emailing all our boat owners in the near future to build up our fleet. Remember it's more a Rally than a Race and you will get the chance to stock up your wine cellar before the shutters come down and we are back to our Duty-Free Allowance and completion of the green declaration form to be delivered to Customs & Excise back in the UK. Remember not to set foot ashore for several hours just in case the authorities decide you are to be frisked.

Forget about that just come and join in for a superb weekend with our French friends and in memory of Hermione.

David Skinner,
Moonlight Saunter.

Photos: Leading image from the archives showing the start, we think, of the 1970 Pactolus Race. The lower image is of happy Pactolus sailors from 2015, fronted by David Skinner.


NEW - Enter and Purchase Supper Tickets Online


Thursday 28 July

Shoreham club house at 19:00 for 19:30

  • Hand battered fish and chips with mushy peas

    followed by

  • Spotted dick and custard

You can get your tickets from the office or you can enter the race and rally plus purchase supper tickets online by visiting the SYC shop

All for just £12.50 per person