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British Universities and Colleges Sport Yachting Championship 2018 - Day 1

by Tony Mapplebeck 28 Mar 09:35 BST 27-29 March 2018

The Yachting Championships of the British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS), in conjunction with the British Universities' Sailing Association (BUSA), started in the Solent on Monday 27th March. 190 student sailors, in 24 teams of 8, representing universities from St Andrews to Plymouth and Swansea to Surrey set off from Port Solent in Sunsail Fast 40s 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 coach debriefings etc. at TigerTiger. The event is being hosted by Portsmouth University Sailing Club, with a specially-devised social programme, including welcome on Sunday, black tie dinner on the first night and a quiz.

PRO Steve Parry reported on the day, while the competitors gathered for the evening video debrief: "Against a background of a very variable forecast, we achieved two windward/leeward races in surprisingly stable conditins. After some practice starts, Race 1 was started with the Uniform flag, requiring a general recall, but with a successful second start. The windward leg was shortened to reach the target time and to allow the second race to proceed only slightly late. The second windward-leeward race again started in less than 7 knots of breeze over a 0.7* course.

"For the third race, the inshore coastal race, the wind swung south and increased nicely to 10 knots as the race began. Unfortunately, it disappeared completely for a brief period before swinging to the South West and coming in at 12 knots. The course was shortened, allowing the fleet to close upon a long beat up the shore to Gilkicker Point. Here there was very close racing, with the whole fleet finishing within 7 minutes after 2 hours racing."

Overall after the three races, through which there had been quite a spread of results, Plymouth Blue and Edinburgh Pink led the day on equal points, closely followed by Exeter Pink.

When an attempt was made to interview them on return to berth at Gunwharf Quays, as their result dawned upon them, the Plymouth 'collective' seemed somewhat bemused by their reported success. As far as we could gather, they were putting this down to a goodly supply of digestives!

Edinburgh Pink, on the other hand, in the form of their captain, Ian McLaughlin (helmed, of course, by Suzy Peters), told us that "it was a hard day. Really tough on the start line, all the boats being very punchy. The last race – never had the whole team thinking throughout the whole race". When asked for any further comment, he responded "wouldn't complain".

Results are uploaded on the BUSA website Championship page at

Follow the event on Facebook at

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

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