Nick Copsey, former Ely sports personality of the year, is studying ship science at the University of Southampton.

Two years ago he began building his own National 12 class dinghy, finishing the boat last summer.

Earlier this month, he displayed his two person, two sail racing dinghy. at a national boating show, the RYA, at Alexander Palace.

His dad Gerald said: “Many visitors were very impressed with the boat and amazed to discover that it was an amateur build.

“Around 8,000 visitors came to see the various designs of dinghy.

“The boat has a few innovative features with the impressive one string rig control system getting lots of attention.

“The boat is undoubtedly quick as well, with a few race wins already, and a couple of second places at the Nationals at Brightlingsea last year just three weeks after launch date.”

His impressive amateur boat build cost about £8,000 compared to a price tag of around £14,000 had he bought it ready made.

Some of that cost was helped with a grant from the Vinten Trust, which gives funding for anybody in the Bury St Edmunds area studying engineering at a higher level.

Nick took to the water at the age of three and competed in his first race at the age of six under the watchful eye of his dad.

However, it was his grandad Dennis, a lorry driver, who began the family craze of sailing after he sold a plot of land at the bottom of his garden and invested it in a boat.

Gerald said: “All the grandchildren have crewed for him at one time or another. He began it all really, he got me into sailing when i was 13 and it has gone from there.

“Sadly he is no longer with us but he would have loved to see Nick’s boat.”

After spending nearly all his free time building the boat last year Nick is looking forward to having more sailing time this year and learning how to sail it to it’s full potential before the championships at Weymouth in August.

After finishing his Masters degree this summer he hopes to take a year off from studying and spend as much time sailing whilst embarking on his next boat building adventure when time allows.

This time he is going to build an International Moth.



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