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Best universitys for sailing

Printed From: Yachts and Yachting Online
Category: Dinghy classes
Forum Name: Dinghy Yarns...
Forum Discription: Tell us your sailing stories
Printed Date: 27 Sep 22 at 5:43pm
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Topic: Best universitys for sailing
Posted By: kingdacks
Subject: Best universitys for sailing
Date Posted: 07 Nov 12 at 7:25pm
What are the best universitys for sailing ? I.e advantages, how good, what local clubs are near by etc

Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 07 Nov 12 at 8:14pm
Universities, not universitys. Not off to do English, I hope?!

It very much depends upon what sort of sailing you want to do. Some of the top team racing clubs can be a little neglectful of those who aren't team material, whereas others with a lower profile are more inclusive.

I'd say that south coast universities are going to be blessed with good water and plenty of oppotunity, and several also do the yotty stuff. I know some current Soton students who have a good time there, but there is a little bit of "the team" attitude. Also know a couple of recently ex Oxford students who had a fantastic time, and are much better sailors for racing in the Oxford team.

I went to Aberystwyth nearly 30 years ago - the social side was the best around - the sailing, maybe not so much...

Firefly 2324, Puffin 229, Minisail 3446 Mirror 70686

Posted By: SoggyBadger
Date Posted: 07 Nov 12 at 8:45pm
Originally posted by Rupert

Universities, not universitys. Not off to do English, I hope?!


Anybody with half a brain would choose a university on the basis of it's academic record in the preferred subject rather than of pissing about in boats.

Best wishes from deep in the woods


Posted By: Quagers
Date Posted: 07 Nov 12 at 9:11pm
As was said, it depends what type of sailing your looking for (and what your able to achieve academically) for team racing Oxford, Cambridge, Soton, Durham all are good clubs but yachting will naturally be more limited the further north you move. Yachting wise Soton, Solent, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Exeter and Bristol are always there or there abouts. To get a feel for the standard of the various clubs check out the Busa website ( - )

If you want to sail your own boat at uni things are a bit different, uni clubs are naturally geared towards doing well in BUSA events which are primarily team racing and yachting so there tends to be a big focus on that.

*Disclaimer I've been sailing at Durham for 4 years but you can check the results I'm not lying we are good!

Posted By: Mister Nick
Date Posted: 07 Nov 12 at 9:48pm
Anything on the South Coast seems to offer good sailing, particularly if you like keelboats. But then my idea of good sailing might not be everybody's. I'd go for Southampton personally because the university sailing looks like good fun and also sounds like people take it seriously, plus you're really near to Hamble so you've got a good opportunity to get onto some nice boats with decent people.

Posted By: Neptune
Date Posted: 07 Nov 12 at 10:18pm
Don't forget SUSA (the Scottish equivalent).  There is some great racing up there and also plenty of yachting if thats your think on and around the Clyde.

RS200 and returning to a Musto, ex 300

Posted By: pondmonkey
Date Posted: 07 Nov 12 at 11:34pm
Most decent unis have a sailing team, so I'd echo what was previously said... If it's just sailing you are after then I'd happily take your tuition fee off you and hand you back a shagged-out firefly to sail a handful of times per annum.


Posted By: alstorer
Date Posted: 08 Nov 12 at 6:50am

Echo the above: choose on academics first, extra curricular second. But then most of the "good" sailing universities do also have outstanding academic reputations, so it's quite hard to go wrong here, to be honest. Second rate and below universities tend to generally be worse for sports in general.

On the Scottish ones, Strathclyde about a decade ago won the student yachting worlds more than once, and since I left it, Edinburgh have won the BUSA team racing.


Posted By: Isis
Date Posted: 08 Nov 12 at 10:28am
The real answer is there is no 'Best' university for sailing.

I can only really speak for the Scottish unis, and as alstorer said, over the last decade or so Strathclyde have been the strongest keelboat club, and Edinburgh consistently at the top of the dinghy leagues. Lately the differences have grown smaller though.... Strathclyde haven't managed to qualify for the worlds in the last 2 years, and after the first league weekend Strathclyde and Glasgow are joint at the top of the Team racing table with the top Edinburgh team several places down.

The point from this is not to read too much into past results - the nature of student sailing is that clubs change drastically year on year. Far better to choose a course you want in a location you want - and as long as theres an active club there you'll get on just fine.

That said: a lot of these posts have been assuming you want competitive sailing - if its the social aspect your looking for then SUSA is more fun.

Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 08 Nov 12 at 10:30am

Looks like Plymouth would give you some good people to race with/against, too.

Firefly 2324, Puffin 229, Minisail 3446 Mirror 70686

Posted By: iGRF
Date Posted: 08 Nov 12 at 10:40am
I would have said Southampton, which then reminded me of a funny tale.

Windsurfer squaddie really pee'd off with the rigours of the Olympic training and especially the national coach of the period, decides to chuck it all in and go back to Uni.

Turns up at Uni only to find the National Coach is now his lecturer there...

-------------" rel="nofollow - Snow Equipment Deals" rel="nofollow - New Core Kite website

Posted By: alstorer
Date Posted: 08 Nov 12 at 11:05am
Whilst obviously the quality of the sailors changes year on year, there's a certain level of continuity of setup- as long as those running the club don't totally botch things up, a university club with good equipment and good access to sailing waters/yachts/etc will remain so. Indeed if anything it's the organisational side that's more important- and becoming an active part of that side is good and useful experience of the sort that people are reffering to when they say that university isn't just about the academic side.


Posted By: Barty
Date Posted: 08 Nov 12 at 12:40pm
I went to Soton when the Marine department was based out at Warsash .  I remember going to the sailing club meeting in the first couple of weeks and the place was rammed.  We were then told that if we hadn't won a national championship or equivilent in the last 12 months don't bother applying.  They still filled the team!!!  So for all us non-superstar sailors we looked elsewhere.  I did a season on a 505 at Weston and a couple of winter/spring series on a Sigma 33 and 38.  You could just head down to the Hamble and get a ride on loads of boats.  It was some of the best racing I've done.
I then went to Newcastle and my feet never got wet.......thats due to Newcastle being far too good a student city to let sailing get in the way!!!

------------- - For Topper boats & spares in

Posted By: Fans1024
Date Posted: 08 Nov 12 at 2:20pm
Originally posted by Rupert

I went to Aberystwyth nearly 30 years ago - the social side was the best around - the sailing, maybe not so much...
I went to Aber 6 years ago and it was pretty much the same then.  It wasn't the easier of places to sail from, especially after one of the wild storms (aka half the beach ended up on the street).  However, the trips to Bala were epic.

Posted By: catmandoo
Date Posted: 08 Nov 12 at 3:30pm
"University of life" did the trick for me with frequent visits to the "Ocean Bar " 


Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 08 Nov 12 at 4:08pm
I've just remembered that the University of Cornwall has a Penryn campus - that is nice and close to Restronguet SC, where you'd get some of the best sailing the country has to offer. I have absolutely no idea what course they run, mind!

Firefly 2324, Puffin 229, Minisail 3446 Mirror 70686

Posted By: olly_love
Date Posted: 08 Nov 12 at 4:20pm
I did marine design and engineering at Solent 5 yrs ago now,
and the sailing was amazing, as there are loads of contacts on big boats, tbh alot of students make the jump to yachts and generally its free and someone has to do the organising,
we rely on students to crew our yacht now,

TWO FRANK-Hunter Impala

Posted By: EuropeGBR395
Date Posted: 08 Nov 12 at 4:33pm
My University doesn't have a sailing team (Newport) I am the captain and the only member!

However sailing at the BUCS Fleet Nationals this weekend was great fun, Plymouth Uni all seemed really friendly and had a massive fleet. Bear in mind that most BUSA events are NOT handicap, you will have to sail a Firefly really to get anywhere. 

Don't choose your Uni based on sailing though, I chose mine based on the course, then realised I was within bus distance of Cardiff Bay and Llandegfedd. I enjoy sailing at club level while at uni, with the occasional lift to events. Also it's good to make friends with people that may not be students (They often have money and take pity on starving students and feed you!)

Posted By: Kev M
Date Posted: 08 Nov 12 at 8:22pm
Loughborough seems pretty active.

Successfully confusing ambition with ability since 1980.

Posted By: gordon
Date Posted: 08 Nov 12 at 9:35pm
University College Dublin - good team racing and just won the World Student Yachting. They run 5 teams.


Posted By: ASok
Date Posted: 08 Nov 12 at 11:06pm
I can endorse Plymouth Uni for the academics and sailing. It was a long time ago that I was VC of the yacht club, but it was great then and I hear that its got better with time.

Plymouth is a cracking place to sail. The yacht club used to run day sails, weekend trips along the SW coast and a longer Easter trip across the channel. I have heard that they own or have access to a couple of J80's which sounds pretty awesome.

I have no idea what is happening with the dinghy club. The boats were rubbish when I was there and it turned me off dinghy sailing.


Posted By: Caveman
Date Posted: 08 Nov 12 at 11:39pm
My daughter is at Brighton and Sussex Medical School. She  has been a little disappointed with the almost non-existent dinghy sailing scene there. Football has become  her sport of choice although she is doing a bit of windsurfing. While Brighton may not be ideal for dinghy sailors, I am told by people who know that my daughter would (if she got off her lazy backside) find plenty of opportunities to crew on one of the yachts in the marina or at Shoreham Y.C.   

By contrast, friends of mine have sons studying at Plymouth and Portsmouth Uni's and they  pparently having a great time.

As has already been commented, perhaps the quality of the sailing opportunities should take second place to the quality of the course on offer unless you plan to study something linked to sailing.


Posted By: tmoore
Date Posted: 09 Nov 12 at 12:33pm
This is correct.  When I left we had a laser, firefly, 2 wayfarers, enterprise, J24 and a small rib.  I think since then they have also managed to get a couple of picos.  The club also runs an annual sailing holiday on yachts in the med for roughly 500 all in.  Restronguet SC are extremely welcoming and the standard of sailing there is excellent although you will need your own boat and transport (or a good friend) to get there.

There are two parts to the campus.  University of Exeter (Cornwall campus) which does everything from law to geography and english.  Although by far the best courses are the mining engineering (only one in the country) and geology.  These are endorsed by Camborne School of Mines which is world famous in the mining industry and offers unlimited access to an underground mine where you are able to use explosives etc, cutting edge research technology and some of the best lecturers.  They have extremely good ties with the industry and graduates are extremely employable (of my class of 22 I know of only 1 who was not in further education or working and he was going travelling).

If that is not your cup of tea then the other parts of campus is Falmouth College of Arts which does design, photography and other arty/ useless things (joke).

I echo what the others say, do not choose a course or uni for the sailing, it is the quickest path to disappointment come the end of three expensive years.

Landlocked in Africa
RS300 - 410
Firefly F517 - Nutshell
Micro Magic RC yacht - Eclipse

Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 09 Nov 12 at 1:24pm
I went to the boat building college (having been thrown out of Aber a few years earlier for spending too much time in many of the 52 drinking establishments available) in Falmouth, and used to cycle everywhere. The hill in Penryn on the way to the club is a killer, but the hill out of Mylor Church on the way home is a complete nightmare after a day sitting out and a few cans of Guinness in the bar after.

Firefly 2324, Puffin 229, Minisail 3446 Mirror 70686

Posted By: patj
Date Posted: 10 Nov 12 at 7:21pm
other parts of campus is Falmouth College of Arts which does design, photography and other arty/ useless things (joke).
I thought that rather apt as a parent of a still unemployed Falmouth film graduate (who doesn't even sail).
Just choose the best course and make it one that will get you a job when you graduate. If the uni doesn't sail there will always be a local club to join.

Posted By: laser47
Date Posted: 10 Nov 12 at 9:39pm
I have to echo what the others have said, chose for education over what sailing they have there.

In my experience there is no "best" club. Yes certain clubs do win lots but fall down in other areas making results on paper misleading; I had a lot of contact with Brunel and I must say they have one of the best sailing clubs out there in terms of team spirit, activities on offer and club atmosphere but never win anything.

Others are good for a while then fall down when key members leave as so much of uni sailing is dependent on who is there at the time; Bournemouth has had periods of moderate success in sailing under various committees and periods of rubbishness under others. When I joined the uni it didn't even have a club, now they have an excellent grassroots section and, having acquired 4 Fireflies a few weeks ago, are in the process of ramping up the performance side to improve their results.

During the restructuring we have found that if people aren't prepared to do things good clubs go bad very quickly. Caveman's daughter's uni is a very good example of this. Brighton and Sussex used to have quite an active dinghy section (BrightSex SC!) but lost momentum when its members graduated. Sussex did have one Firefly, Alex and Chris, at the recent fleet nationals. I know for a fact Alex did as much as he could to get people there but couldn't find anyone else interested.

My best advice is to pick your uni based on what you want to do with you life and if the sailing there is not what you want step up to the plate and change it. Uni is about growing and developing yourself as person, in the end employers want a person with the skills to make them money not an automaton.


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