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British Universities and Colleges Sport Yachting Championship 2018 - Day 2

by Tony Mapplebeck 28 Mar 18:45 BST 27-29 March 2018

The first day, with two windward/leeward races, followed by a short coastal race, had been fairly light winds to test the fleet in tricky conditions, but had, nevertheless, been a welcome lead into the Championships for some less experienced, perhaps. The coastal had included a drop from 7 knots to none and then up to 12 knots, which had certainly impacted several boats adversely.

Tuesday dawned with the prospect of some more challenging conditions, with a windward/leeward race, followed by the long costal races of 3 – 4 hours duration.

Returning to Gunwharf Quays around 15.30, PRO Stephen Parry narrated the days sailing from the perspective of the Race Committee: "After a slight delay waiting for MV Mont St Michel, we set up a start in Wootton Creek (between Wootton & Fishbourne on the Isle of Wight) with 1.2nm windward\leeward course at 250* (breeze at 12-13kn). There was close racing, with the leeward gate splitting evenly". The race was won by Strathclyde Blue (Angus Gray-Stephens). She was followed by Exeter, Southampton Solent and Edinburgh Pink, who were to remain the leading pack at the end of the day.

"For the long coastal race", continued the Principal Race Officer, "we used the same windward mark for the first leg. Unfortunately, one boat was UFD. A 21 mile tour of the central Solent had a long beat and a long run via Gurnard, to finish at Gleeds after about three hours.....during which we all got very wet!"

Southampton Solent Black (Mathieu Cadei) won the long coastal. Exeter White (Oliver Grogono) and Edinburgh Pink (Suzy Peters) were 2nd and 3rd, with Plymouth Red (Sam Clarke) take useful points in 4th to build her position in the overall fleet ranking, while St Andrews, in their first Championship, took a 5th, which was to further boost their position overall.

Exeter White ended the day in 3rd overall. Annabel Bates said, "we had a pretty good start yesterday (Monday), but were frustrated in the coastal race, arising from the sudden drop in the wind". So, today was an opportunity and an improvement. Murray Hampshire explained that ", after a couple of bad starts, we had good decision-making and boat speed, which pulled us back through the fleet to good finishes" (second in each race).

Southampton Solent Black had had a 7th in the coastal race the previous day to carry forward, but they achieved a 3rd in today's windward leeward and then won the long coastal, leading to an overall second placing tonight, just 0.5 points behind the leaders, Edinburgh Pink.

Mathieu Cadei was enjoying the "mono type" (one design) competition in this event. He and Solent Commodore, Nicole Ames, spoke about Solent's preparation for the event and the team building (the team had received two Sunsail awards for wins in the two most recent Sunsail regatta). However, Mathieu emphasised that they had not come into the Championship with particular expectations, "just keeping going, anything can happen. We are pretty confident about our boat speed, but the light winds on day 1 were pretty weird. We are enjoying ourselves and will have some fun afterwards". Nicole was more ebullient: "Over the moon, ecstatic, nearly cried....for the right reasons!"

Sam Clarke, Plymouth Red, spoke of his mistake in the first race, "poor...late for the start...then held back by the tide....'kick in the nuts'!" But then the long coastal. "Yesterday in the short coastal, we had been first to the windward mark, but then hit that patch of no wind and dropped right down. So, in today's long inshore, we showed well, second to the windward mark, remaining consistently in the top four, just missing out on 3rd at the last mark (spinnaker got stuck). So, we were quite pleased with a fourth here."

New to the Yachting Championships this year, the St Andrews sailors were excited to be coming and looking for the experience, but they came in this evening quite buoyant. Helm Balazs Gesce, experienced sailor from Hungary's Balatonfüred, confirmed that this was to have been a steep learning curve. "For us this was a step up from the 707s we sail in Scotland and in a much larger and competitive fleet. All credit to the team in general, which has shown cohesion. I am really pleased to be sailing in this competitive fleet". Alex Carter, St Andrews Yachting Captain confirmed that they had "enjoyed the nice light winds on the first day to get prepared" (though they may have been like several others caught by the total drop in wind during the short coastal). "Today was a step-up, a bit of struggle with manoeuvres in the heavier airs. After a false start in the long inshore race, we had a really fantastic upwind leg and finished the race in 5th!"

Results are uploaded on the BUSA website Championship page at busa.co.uk/championships/bucs-yachting-championships-2018.

Follow the event on Facebook at www.facebook.com/events/2223119657924031.

Special thanks to Karen Rawson of Sunsail for her blogging and photos and to BUSA Keelboat Officer, Harry Bowerman (Harry Bowerman Photography) for his great images – see harrybowerman.shootproof.com.

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