Teacher, Sadie Davies, is the first woman to swim to Lundy and be returned to Clovelly


Sadie Davies, a teacher, is the first ever woman to complete the 15 mile swim from Hartland to Lundy in under nine hours.  She was raising money for the environmental charity, ‘Surfers Against Sewage’ and was returned to Clovelly.

The island was a very important place for Mrs. Davies, as she spent lots of time in her childhood there with her father, who was a scuba diver.
When her father died, his family took his ashes to the island.  So Sadie felt it was like swimming out to him.

On her return to Clovelly by boat, she was presented with the Cyril Webber Cup (named after the first person to attempt to swim in 1952) by The Hon. John Rous

Teacher becomes first woman to swim to Lundy

The Clovelly Cup Yacht Rally, Sat. Aug. 3, by Nick Peace

Each year the Clovelly Estate has the “Maritime Festival”, based around the harbour area, to celebrate both its past and modern times and connections with the sea. The Festival attracts a large number of holiday makers and of course the people who live in the local area.

This is the fourth year running the Clovelly Cup Yacht rally. We have a new winner!

The weather forecast was very good, although there was the possibility of very light winds from the East. For that reason, the race/rally course was set out with windward and leeward marks (buoys), just half a mile to the South East and North West of the harbour. The start line was off the harbour wall and outside the fishermen’s lobster holding areas.

A fleet of yachts sailed over from the river Torridge; all members of the North Devon Yacht Club. Of the 20 yachts gathered in and outside the harbour, 10 yachts registered to race around the buoys. We ran two races, each of approximately one-hour duration.  The finishing times were carefully recorded, so that handicaps would be applied to determine the winning boat over the two races.

The “fleet” comprised seven “gaffers”, a catamaran and two cruising yachts.

Harbour Master, Stephen Perham, and Nick Peace laid the course the day before.  Two large inflatable marks, windward and Leeward, were kindly loaned by Ilfracombe Yacht Club.  And the starting gate mark was kindly loaned by Clovelly Gig Club and put in place by Clovelly RNLI.

Doug Walls, skipper of Clovelly’s “Intrepid”, acted as boatman and brought the visiting crews ashore for breakfast and a fine barbecue below the historic Lime Kiln.  Viv Foster and her volunteers kept other visitors all well fed.

Race 1 was headed throughout by “Cream Tea”,  the very new Shrimper 21, skippered by Denis Ford – last year’s Cup winner.  One or two boats found themselves going backwards for a while, but made good progress later – it was after all, a relaxed atmosphere!

Race 2 was a smaller field as one or two boats had other commitments. It included Philip Coles’ Tela “Penelope”,  probably the prettiest boat in the fleet, and the shortest at 16 feet. It shipped a lot of water in the race as the bilge pump had failed! Ultimately old-fashioned manual labour solved the problem.

The start of the race was notable when Jonathan Rhind’s “Naiad”, seemed to ace the start.  It veered away to avoid crossing the line early.  Being recalled, your officer of the day could see the bow of “Naiad” veer away less than one foot short of the line.  But there was not time for the communications officer to advise that Jonathan Rhind would make a clean start!

Racing was very close.  Ernie Maud’s Catamaran “Mojo”, had a slow start, but rapidly caught the “Gaffers”. Sir Richard Peak, skipper of “Rudigore V”, having tried once again, unsuccessfully rounded the windward mark.  He called the OOD and suggested a time average from the others would suit him very well! He didn’t cross the finishing line!

The result from the two races:

The Clovelly Cup was presented by Mrs Viv Foster, National President of the Merchant Navy Association and Chairman of the Clovelly RNLI fund raising committee.  


                        Boat’s name    Make                           Skipper                        Handicap         Corrected Time

First                 Blue Moon       Shrimper 19                Mike Palmer Head      0.749               4791

Second             Naiad               Shrimper 19                Jonathan Rhind           0.749               4988

Third                Cream Tea       Shrimper 21                Denis Ford                   0.85                 5235

Fourth              Mojo                Hirondelle Mk3           Ernie Maud                 1.007               6937

Very many thanks go to:  The Hon. John Rous for inviting us again this year; Rachel Haines who organised and managed the day along with her team in Clovelly;  Nick Peace and Steve Saxton – our OOD team from Ilfracombe Yacht Club; Stephen Perham, Harbour Master; Doug Walls, our boatman;  Rem Rossi, commentator – and, of course, Viv Foster presenting the Cup.  And many thanks especially to the skippers and crews for sailing over to Clovelly.

Clovelly Maritime Festival

Sunday 21st July 2024

Watch the exciting Clovelly Cup yacht rally against a backdrop of live music, street entertainment, activities and games for the whole family. Join us for a day full of fun, all in aid of The Mission to Seafarers.