- M • 04/04/1962 • 59 years old
It would be impossible to sum up Piers Copham’s professional career in a matter of lines. Indeed, the Briton boasts a whole string of degrees (including a doctorate in metallurgy and material science and an MBA from the Institut européen d’administration des affaires in Fontainebleau – known more familiarly as the Business School for the World), working as a chemical engineer in Germany, Holland and the United Kingdom, before becoming the director of a niche strategy consultancy, Granta Strategy, whose role is to support an extensive range of organisations with drawing up a commercial strategy and raising investment funds.
So where does sailing fit into all that? It’s a story that dates way back for the Cophams. “One of my family’s ancestors was captured by Napoleon, then imprisoned in Brittany, before making good his escape to Wales on a stolen frigate”, explains the sailor, who lives in Loxley, on the outskirts of Sheffield, and taught himself to sail at the age of 6 in north-west Scotland, by converting an old rowing boat into a little sailboat using a bedsheet. “Perhaps that explains why my sailing isn’t quite as polished as it could be!”jokes Piers, who’s racked up a wealth of experience in recent years, sometimes on a Laser, sometimes on a Swan 47, as well as anywhere in between, from a Frers 55 to a J105, HOD35 and an Open 40.
So why the Mini Transat? “It’s an adventure I’d have liked to have started 20 years ago! To my mind, it’s the ultimate sailing experience given the size of the boats and the scale of the challenge, which is accessible to ‘normal’ people”, explains the skipper of Voiles des Anges, an association supporting parents who have lost a child. His goals: “to continue learning, to do my best, to make the most of being at sea and not to embarrass my boat’s heritage!”
- Boat Number: 719
- Boat Race Name: Voiles des Anges
- Category: Proto
- Building year: 2007
- Architecte: Étienne Bertrand
- Énergie à bord: Panneaux solaires et pile à combustible