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British University Team Racing Championships 2018 - photo © Robbie Fowler
British University Team Racing Championships 2018 - photo © Robbie Fowler

British University Championships 2018

The Finals of the annual Team Racing Championships of the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS), with the British University Sailing Association (BUSA), were held on Strathclyde Loch, Glasgow from Monday 2nd to Wednesday 4th April 2018, hosted by the University of Glasgow.

This was the culmination of an academic year’s team selections, training and competition. In February, the largest team racing event, probably worldwide, was simultaneously held over five venues across the UK. 540 sailors, from 42 universities and in 90 teams, competed in Qualifiers.

Four of these covered English and Welsh universities at four venues (Derwent Water, Grafham Water, Spinnaker and Chew Valley, whilst in Scotland the event was the third in a series of ‘League’ weekends (held on Bardowie Loch and Lochore). From these five events, 30 teams qualified direct to the BUCS/BUSA Finals, the planned ‘Playoffs’ having been ‘blown off’. Two leading teams from Ireland, University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin, were also invited to compete.

Several competitors spoke of their motivation, travelling to Finals, during the event: “Good competition, all the teams are here from all over the country, and it’s always good to meet new people” (Adam Stone of Birmingham White). “Well, you know, It’s BUSA isn’t it! You would never say no. We really like Scotland as well – the Playoffs in Scotland last year was our favourite event, it was a lot of fun – so it’s always fun here and were really looking forward to the ceilidh”.

Ben Swyer (Newcastle Red): “BUSA is one of the best events of the year, with some of the best teams in the country. Last year it was really well run, and it’s the same again this year, which is nice to see……The teams are a lot better this year than last, or we are a lot worse! But Newcastle have managed to get two teams through to finals which is a first!”

“I’ve learnt a lot in a very short space of time, sailed with some really good people, learnt a lot!”, said Maddy Breen (Edinburgh Green) in her first year of team racing.

“The wind has been at a good level, but, with 90* wind shifts, things are very exciting on the start line!” (Niall Ferguson of Strathclyde Green).

Cambridge Cruising Club blogged: “Good racing by all on a course, with a first beat ‘more holey than Swiss cheese’ (Paris Thomas) and a final beat causing ‘more reshuffles than the Labour shadow cabinet’ (Oli Jagger). Quite a few big gusts coming through causing some capsizes, but occasionally a little light for the reefed sails. Still waiting for snow…”

After the event, Gabriel Ing, Captain of Imperial said (we) “really enjoyed finals and were delighted with our performance! The weather was horrible all week, but we didn’t let it dampen our spirits as we had some terrific racing all week. The only real disappointment was that the light and shifty winds slowed the racing down, and we didn’t get more. It was also a real shame that the ball ended how it did as we were really excited for it.

British University Team Racing Championships 2018 - photo © Leanne Fischler / www.leannefischler.co.uk

British University Team Racing Championships 2018 – photo © Leanne Fischler / www.leannefischler.co.uk

“Nevertheless, we are all very grateful for BUSA and Glasgow’s great organisation, we are very much looking forward to having another go for the title next year!”

“Despite the weather and difficult wind conditions”, said Joe Burns of Bristol, “the Finals this year were incredibly well run in our eyes. The course layers did a particularly good job reacting to the inconsistent wind direction, and the racing seemed, overall, very fair, with most of the expected teams coming out on top. It would have been difficult to get many more races in.

“The final was a good watch, and ultimately Southampton deserved to take the home the win. Thank you very much to the race committee and event organisers for putting together an efficient, fair and enjoyable event”.

BUSA Technical Delegate, Keith Sammons said: “A big ‘thank you’ to Glasgow; Commodore, Lindsay McCosh and all her team did a great job.

“We cannot control the weather – and we certainly had some pretty difficult conditions. Well done to all the teams. It was a nice event – all were friendly… chipped in to support each other. The quality of racing was excellent. We managed thirteen rounds. There were seven different universities in the Quarters. A very friendly atmosphere.”

Manchester’s Commodore (and BUSAs Women’s Captain 2017-18) commented: “Having convincingly won the Northern Qualifiers and had a good performance at UKTRA, Manchester Purple were excited to race against teams from other regions. As you should do in a Swiss league, we lost the first race to Cambridge Black but went on to win the rest of our races on the first day in deteriorating winds, with life not made easy due to the decision to reef the boats midday, after which the wind died.

“Tuesday was very cold and the fluky wind conditions made it very hard to be consistent. Luckily this seemed to affect everyone equally, and we managed to hold our position in the top 8 despite only winning 2 races. Ended the day positively with an important victory over Cambridge Blue in the final re-sail race of the day to set us up well for day 3.

“Wednesday was also freezing cold, and we launched to sit around for a very long time for the wind to settle. Winning 2 out of 3 just secured our place in the top 8 for the first time at a Finals!

“We were excited to race in the quarter finals, and we faced Cambridge Blue who we had previously beaten. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be, and we lost in a couple of close races, but at least we could finally thaw out. We watched the finals races from the warmth of our van.

“Overall the event was good and well organised, but it was the worst weather (wind and temperature and precipitation) conditions we have had at a Finals recently.”

Matt Whitfield, Captain of Southampton Green (and BUSA Men’s Captain 2017-18) summed up: “Thanks to Glasgow and all the volunteers. Big thanks to the umpire team and the on-water race committee for braving the snowy conditions. Well done to the PRO and everyone for getting is as much good sailing as possible in sleet, snow, and 0 knots.

“We have had a really good time, and I am pleased to bring the team race trophy back to where it belongs, in Southampton

During the Finals, World Sailing held an Umpiring Seminar. This was led by Chris Atkins (GBR), Sally Burnett (GBR) and Flavio Naveria (ARG). Participants came from France, Ireland, Rumania and Spain, together with the UK.

Matt Goodbourn, formerly Newcastle, offered his perspective: “I thought the seminar was hugely productive and a really good opportunity for up and coming umpires from different areas of the world to pool ideas and learn from each other. I thought the racing was of a high standard, and there were some very close and interesting races, both for the sailors and the umpires. In terms of my umpiring career, the seminar has really helped me – it encourages a huge and fast development as you are pushed by all the high calibre members of the team that joined me on the seminar. It was also interesting to hear and learn from far more experienced umpires and the added challenge of working with people who don’t have English as the mother tongue was an interesting challenge for me to tackle when umpiring – especially since BUSA Finals can demand very quick and accurate decisions from the umpire team”.

The BUSA Championship page is at busa.co.uk/championships/bucs-team-racing-championship-2018

Live Results and other information were posted on events.ksail.co.uk/2018/BUSAFinals and Glasgow USC volunteers provided a continuous blog on results etc. on BUSA twitter: @BUSAsailing. and the event Facebook page, managed by GUSC, was https://www.facebook.com/events/422924418162835. This included live video and commentary on the Quarters, Semis and Finals, thanks to Mark ‘Trap’ Taylor.

Some brief interviews were held with sailors in the boat park and marquee during the event by Brendan Lynch of Edinburgh.

Photography was by Leanne Fischler (www.leannefischler.co.uk) and Robbie Fowler. Their galleries were uploaded on Facebook here.

With thanks to all our correspondents and photographers.

Overall Results:

Place / Team / BUCS points Place / Team Place / Team
1 Southampton Green 50 11 Edinburgh Blue 22 Durham Purple
2 Cambridge Blue 35 12 Cardiff Black 23 Newcastle Blue
3 Exeter Blue 24 13 Bath Black 24 Leeds Green
4 Imperial Blue 16 14 Birmingham White 25 Durham Black
5 Strathclyde Green 14 15 Trinity College Dublin 26 Strathclyde Pink
6 Cambridge Black 12 16 Plymouth White 27 University College Dublin
7 Manchester Purple 10 17 Loughborough Purple 28 Cambridge Purple
8 Bristol Red 8 18 Solent Black 29 Exeter Black
9 Oxford Blue 19 Birmingham Red 30 Southampton Blue
10 Southampton Red 20 Newcastle Red 31 Glasgow Purple

by Tony Mapplebeck

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