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RYA & BUSA Women's Team Racing Nationals 2018

by Lindsay McCosh & Izzy Burroughs 8 Mar 2018 14:12 GMT 24-25 February 2018
RYA & BUSA Women's Team Racing Nationals 2018 © Leanne Fischler Design /

Over the weekend of 24th and 25th February, the RYA & BUSA Women's Team Racing Nationals 2018 took place at Lochore Meadows Country Park, hosted jointly by Glasgow and Strathclyde University Sailing Clubs. The event is open to women's teams, whether getting together for the event or from clubs, schools or universities, All compete for the RYA Trophy, while student teams, each from a particular university, also compete for the BUSA Trophy.

Seventeen teams from Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland, descended on Glasgow for a weekend of competitive sailing, a ceilidh, and surprising amounts of sunshine.

Strathclyde began the socials on Friday evening with a trip to the Merchant for cheap pints before heading off for a night of dancing in Light in preparation for Saturday morning's early start.

By 10am on Saturday, three flights of fireflies were rigged, the course was set, and the teams were rearing to get on the water. The round robin started with early wins from Cambridge Blue, Big Booty Bs, and Oxford Blue. Glasgow Manchego suffered some setbacks in their first races, and Glasgow's own 'six-crew-team', Sparkle Squad tried their luck at helming, eager to learn, and won a race against Strathclyde Sapphires with the use of the starboard rule, forcing a Strath boat to take a penalty and re-cross the finish line. The wind stayed at a consistent 10 to 15 knots all day, and the race committee managed to finish 85 races of the round robin, leaving BUSA and Oxford Blue on 10 wins each, with Cambridge Blue, RNCYC and Exeter in close pursuit on 8 wins each.

After getting off the water, competitors took part in a discussion presented by the RYAs Jacqui Roberts and Jack Fenwick about increasing the number of women in race official roles, followed by a general discussion about women in university team racing. Amongst other outcomes was a unanimous decision that this event would no longer be entitled 'Ladies'!

James Campbell (Glasgow), Course Manager for the event with Ewan Rycroft (Strathclyde.) spoke about the event. On Saturday, it was "sunny, but quite cold. Force 3 - 4, for the whole day, with mini shifts, flicking to the left". The main issue for the mark layers, by all accounts, was when the finish boat dragged its two CQR anchors. Sunday dawned another clear and crisp Scottish morning. "Day two gave us some work at the outset. We arrived to find the Loch was frozen, requiring three icebreakers. But the wind filled in after a short wait...We envied the women the racing conditions over the weekend!"

The race committee decided to go to leagues for some closer racing, which started at about 10:30, with the wind at a steady 10 to 12 knots, and gusts building as the day went on. A Glasgow helm was denied Manchego, and Big Booty Bs were so excited to get onto the water that they sailed two of Cardiff's races for them. Glasgow Manchego sailed through to the Bronze league finals to compete against Trinity, where they lost the two exciting races narrowly.

In the Silver finals, Sevenoaks defeated Loughborough in a 1 – 2 – 4 and a 1 – 3 – 6. Cossie Lewis evidently enjoyed her second year at the Nationals with Team Sevenoaks, this year as Captain: "For once, the sun shone on us in Edinburgh [what does she mean? (Ed)], and it made for a great weekend at the Ladies' Nationals. The races were tense and exciting, specifically against Loughborough, who we raced against four times, including in the finals. As the only school team there, it was a great opportunity to compete against universities, and we were thrilled to finish 1st in silver fleet and 7th overall". Where will she and her colleagues be competing for next year?

Making it through to the semi-finals in the Gold League were Oxford Blue, BUSA, RNCYC and Exeter. RNCYC won 2 out of 3 races against BUSA, and Oxford Blue won 2 races against Exeter to make it through to the finals. In the petit finals, BUSA won 2 out of 3 races against Exeter.

RNCYC and Oxford Blue sailed 3 tense races against each other in the finals. The teams initially won a race each in winning combinations of 1 – 2 – 6, before RNCYC lost the third race narrowly in a 2 – 4 – 5, making Oxford Blue the winners of both the RYA and BUSA Nationals.

Nicole McPherson of Royal Northern & Clyde Yacht Club (RNCYC) reflected: "Great to have the event in Scotland and to see so many teams travelling up from the south and from Ireland. It would be really good to see more club/alumni teams to stop me feeling quite so old.

"We had great racing all weekend, and particularly in the semis against BUSA and in the finals. While we were disappointed to lose our title, Oxford fully deserved the victory after sailing consistently well all weekend".

Oxford's Rowena Conway brought two teams to the Nationals. "We really enjoyed the Women's Nationals; it is always one of our favourite events! We were also really proud to be able to reflect our club's ongoing support of women in sailing by bringing two teams. Despite the cold, the conditions really were perfect, and the unlimited toasties certainly kept us fuelled up and ready to go! The racing was really competitive on both days, which added to the excitement, with some of our races being contested right up to the finish line. The race committee did a great job getting lots of races in.

"I think this event is really important for raising the profile of women in sailing, and I think that we need to make sure that we continue to have events like this in order to be proactive in encouraging women. This is also why I think it is important that university sailing clubs prioritise getting entries in to the Women's Nationals. The high level of racing shown at this event is testament to the ability of many of the women on the team racing circuit and that is something we need to appreciate. OUYC has an ongoing commitment to promoting women in sailing, and we are hoping to organise something to reflect this for next academic year, so watch this space!"

BUSA Women's Captain, Jenny Smallwood, who had gathered a team of sailors from far and wide, summed it up: "Fabulous event, with great organisation and perfect weather.

"It was great to see some sailors trying out helming in team racing for the first time, as well as a good number of more experienced teams. Splitting into Gold, Silver, Bronze Leagues on Sunday provided better racing for all teams.

"The BUSA team consisted of sailors from all over the country, some of whom flew to Glasgow to compete! I'd encourage more women sailors to apply for BUSA team events, and not just in team racing, because it's a great way to make new friends, and you get to sail in great events."

Thank you to all the teams who came to the event, we hope that you had as much fun as we did! Finally, a huge thank you to the race committee, umpires and all the helpers for their work over the weekend in bringing together an exciting and competitive event. Looking forward to next year!

The Teams:

Big Booty Bitches: Caitlin Ross & Elizabeth Jones, Shona Ross & Liane Cameron, Emily Smith & Emily Harold
BUSA: Jenny Smallwood & Pip Benson, Octavia Owen & Jess Fox, Ruby Riggs & Hebe Hemming
Cambridge Blue: Anna Prescott & Karen Thomas, Holly MacAskill & Bethan Matthews, Penny Wieser & Juliette Welham
Cardiff: Hanna Brant & Eve Gadd, Martha Rhodes & Grace Yeoman, Sophie Hempsell & Amy Sparks
Edinburgh: Sarah Alcock & Mabel Ellerker, Katie Munro & Beth Hurst, Tilly Bartholomew & Clara Zalabardo
Exeter: Sophie Otter & Carys Randeria, Willow Bland & Chloe Lemarachal, Jessie Main & Niamh Gannon
Glasgow Manchego: Lindsay McCosh & Sophie Colbert, Roisin Fleming & Emma Cameron, Sarah Looby & Ruth Carr-Gomm
Loughborough: Abby West & Maddy Root& Molly Speirs & Grace Bradley-Shankar, Elysia Dooley & Ciara Archbold
Oxford Blue: Jenny Cropley & Lauren Davis, Lucy Mellers & Rowena Conway, Ali Bibby & Rosie Williamson
Oxford Crimson: Kathryn Cole & Ines Pont Sanchis, Rebecca Anthony & Sophie Boule, Ella Bennett & Clare Kendall-Bohoslawec
RNCYC: Nicole McPherson & Mags Normand, Ali Morrish & Robyn Fitzgerald, Emily Robertson & Caroline Hoole
Sevenoaks School: Cossie Lewis & Annabel Richards, Anne Marie Ratnage & Alice Parker, Ellie Wild & Izzy Willis
Sparkle Squad: Tasmin Alison & Madison Anne, Imogen Smith & Isabella Jantti, Izzy Burroughs & Isla MacVicar
SSS: Ailsa Muskett & Emma Fowler, Emily Hill & Anna Protheroe, Mhari Orr & Hannah Jones
Strath too: Beth Fieldsend & Lucy Tappin, Eve Rogers & Erica Shaw, Abigail Macintosh & Sorcha MacIntyre
Strath Diamonds: Isla Coe & Ruby Marshall, Romane Vulliez & Mathilde Jakobsen, Eve Campbell & Meg Ferguson
Trinity College Dublin: Caitlin Waters & Sophie Whelton, Alexandra Walsh & Sorcha Donnelly, Caoilainn O'Regan & Sophie Kinirons

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