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BUCS Yachting Championships 2017 - Day 1

by Tony Mapplebeck 11 Apr 2017 18:30 BST 9-13 April 2017

Strathclyde, Southampton and Durham show early promise

The Yachting Championships of the British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS), in conjunction with the British Universities' Sailing Association (BUSA), got underway in the Solent on Monday 10 April. 200 student sailors, in 25 teams of 8, representing universities from Aberdeen to Plymouth and Bangor to Surrey set off from Port Solent in Sunsail Fast 40s (with brand-new Ullmann main sails) first thing on Monday morning.

For the rest of the week, until their return to Port Solent for the Closing Ceremony on Thursday afternoon, they will be berthed at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth, with a land base for debriefings etc. at TigerTiger. The event is being hosted by Commodore Kelsey Suggitt and Portsmouth University Sailing Club, with a specially-devised social programme, including black tie dinner on the first night.

PRO Steve Parry reported on the day, while the competitors gathered for the evening video debrief. "The day started on time as planned at 10.00 am, with a series of successful practice starts. We set-up for Race 1 in 340*/360*, but it was very shifty. A gear problem with the Committee boat and a threatened fuel shortage for the Mark Layer added somewhat to the delay in re-setting the Race 1 start. Then, with a significant wind shift to the left, AP was flown. But, after a wait for the wind to settle to 275/280* and with a shortened leg from 1.2 nm to 0.7 nm, the race was completed successfully. For Race 2, with a 1.3 nm beat and two rounds, this too was successfully finished". Following a wind shift back to the North West and consultation with the Event Director and BUSA Technical Delegate, it was decided to send the Fleet home for the night.

The Provisional Results at the end of the day showed Strathclyde Blue leading (1,2) from Southampton Blue (4,1) and Durham Purple (6,3) ahead of Solent White (2, 10).

Ruaridh Wright, Strath's Keelboat Captain spoke of the day and the Strathclyde approach to preparation. "Both our starts were below par, the second in dirty wind. But we fought hard upwind, both races being mid-fleet at the top mark. We gybed off early downwind in both races, sailing high and fast, picking up a 1st and a 2nd". Speaking about their preparation and training, Ruaridh emphasized that the Strath teams, there are three competing at the event, train as one. "We aim to build for the future, as well as for this year's results, We all do our on water and gym sessions together, generally looking internally for our coaching skills. We are competing in the RC35 series at home in Scotland, three of us did a Commodores event and 11 were at Cowes, all in the 'O' Class."

We caught up with Owen Hallett, out of his pit on Southampton Blue and as his Captain headed to the de-brief. "Excellent conditions, which led to some very close racing." Did we detect a slight glint in his eye as he noted that they were ahead of Southampton Black. Meanwhile, Morgan Dibb added, helpfully, "it was a lovely day".

The Durham team know how to work...and relax...straight to the easy chairs on the pontoon at Gunwharf Quays. Ideal to catch up with them! "Good day, found par in the second race. The 1st was pretty sketchy". Speaking of their preparation, They had had a weekend before Christmas, and two of their crew had not raced a yacht before!"

Jack Muldoon, supported by Jolyon Ferron, BUSA Yachting Captain and helm of Cardiff Black, "For a new team, we smashed it! Nice day on the water. Started a minute late, but made it to 10th. Hoping for good luck and good spirits."

Results are uploaded on the BUSA website Championship page.

Follow the event on Facebook and on Twitter at @BUSAsailing.

Clubs are vying to win the first Sunsail University Club Championships and win a week's holiday from Sunsail. Join the Sunsail Student Facebook group for full details.