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BUCS Student Yachting Championships 2019 - Overall

by Tony Mapplebeck / BUSA 30 Apr 2019 14:51 BST 15-18 April 2019
Exeter Blue at the BUCS Student Yachting Championships © Harry Bowerman /

Exeter Blue wins the Championship and Bristol leads the Trophy Fleet

The Yachting Championships of the British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS), in conjunction with the British Universities' Sailing Association (BUSA) and the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), was held on the Solent in Sunsail Fast 40s. The plan for day two was for two Windward-Leeward races, followed by an inshore coastal race of of 2+ hours duration. The latter was non-discardable and carried 1.5 points per placing.

PRO Jon Nabney reported on the day: "Sailing was to be off Langstone, where the fleet found light winds, 2-5 knots from the North West. With a slow build, there was a slightly delayed start. The first race (race 4 of the Qualifying Series) was set at 295 degrees with a 1.25 nautical miles first leg. When there was a slight drop in wind strength, the course was shortened slightly. Race 5 started at 295 degrees, with a first leg of 1.1 nm. The wind dropped and moved toward the north, so the start was re-set, only for the wind direction to revert and the start re-set again, after a small delay."

The Inshore Coastal Race (race 6) was started at 305 degrees, with a 1.1 nm windward first leg. The Race Committee did provide a close spinnaker reach, but noted that no boat chose to hoist. A couple of boats suffered navigational issues with local underwater obstacles.

When the Fleet returned to Gunwharf Quays, following the Coach's video debrief, the BUSA Annual General Meeting was held. Neil Marshall handed over the reins as Chair to Karen Thomas, with Abby West taking on the new role of Vice-Chair

The plan for the third day of the Qualifying Series was for one windward-leeward race, followed by the long inshore race of approximately 5 hours.

RO Peter Bateson reported on the day in practice. "Misty. No wind. Out off Langstone. Light South Easterly, visibility about 1 mile. OK to start. R1 of the day getting under way, but fleet was too pushy, so a general recall. Half way through the re-start sequence, the race officer realized that the ODM (Outer Distance Mark) had disappeared, in fog! Postponement. Breeze dropped. Eventually a light S Easterly again and the fog lifted. Enough wind for one windward-Leeward started just in time before the 16:00 deadline. So, by then, there was no time for the 'long inshore' race."

The Qualifying Series results determined the Championship and Trophy Fleets for the finals held on Thursday. Each team carried forward its ranking from the Qualifiers, but the top eight universities gained places in the Championship Fleet: Edinburgh, Southampton Green, Exeter, St Andrews, Swansea, Warwick, Portsmouth and Solent White.

The Great BUSA Bake Off

A highlight of the penultimate day of the Championship was 'The Great BUSA Bake Off'. Instituted some year's ago when the fleet was becalmed during the long inshore race, this competition has become a traditional part of the event. With no long inshore race, the teams had most of the day for preparation and baking, according to the strict rules of the competition, and the product of their labours was judged by the BUSA Bake Off Jury after racing. Oxford White celebrated their win.

Championship and Trophy Series

The Fleet divided into the Championship (the top eight boats from different universities from the Qualifying Series) and Trophy Fleets, each with three windward-leeward races scheduled.

RO Peter Bateson reported on the final day: "Sparkly day. 8-12 knots of breeze. Off Langstone. Due to technical difficulties, the aim of operating on-the-water judging for the Championship Fleet under Addendum Q had to be abandoned and, with the agreement of all boats, the racing proceeded under the normal RRS. After a short delay, three windward-leeward races were successfully run, using a wide trapezoid course, with the Trophy Fleet on the outer loop and the Championship Fleet on the inner loop, with separate finish lines. Sterling work by the Mark Layers adjusting the course kept the sequences running, and the last race was started with just 4 minutes left before the time ran out!"

At the prize giving, the Sunsail Trophy and BUCS medals were awarded to Exeter, together with Championship medals for Edinburgh and Swansea. The John Derbyshire Trophy was awarded to Bristol, together with Trophy medals to teams Cambridge and Southampton Red.

The overall placings and the BUCS points to be awarded by the British Universities and Colleges Sport are summarised below.

Championship Fleet Results:

PlaceInstitutionHelmBUCS points
1stExeterMurray Hampshire50
2ndEdinburghMiles Jones35
3rdSwanseaRobbie Robinson24
4thSouthampton GreenTommy Darling 16
5thPortsmouthGeorge Bridge 14
6thSt AndrewsBalázs Gecse 12
7thSolent WhiteElliott Wells 10
8thWarwickDan Venables 8

See also: Qualifying Series detailed results [PDF], Championship & Trophy Series detailed results [PDF]

Trophy Fleet Results:

PlaceInstitutionHelmBUCS points
1stBristolSophie Caseldine 30
2ndCambridgeChris Cantillo21
3rdSouthampton RedEd Myers 14
4thOxford BlueRebecca Anthony12
5thSolent RedChay Taylor11
6thSolent BlackWill Van Dyke9
7thGlasgowAlasdair Ireland7
8thDurhamZoe James5
9thSurreyJames Harayda 
10thImperialIan Emerson 
11thPlymouth WhiteGeorge Kennedy 
12thPlymouth PinkDominic James 
13thOxford WhiteRyan Schenck 
14thNewcastleJosh Dawson 

Jack Hanslope, Commodore of Exeter, was, understandably, bouncing when Exeter came off the water. What a year: second in the BUCS Match Racing, first at the Team Racing (dinghies) and, now, winning Yachting too!

Skipper Freddie Liardet was more prosaic: "Pretty conditions today, sunny. Three really nice starts helped. Clean races. Event was pretty well run and the debriefs were useful."

Bristol's skipper, Sophie Caseldine, winning the Trophy Fleet, said "Really enjoyed it. Easier and harder - a nice team, working well - more difficult for us in the heavier winds at the beginning of the week. Good conditions today, especially for us". When asked about being the leading women's helm, Sophie said, "there is no reason why there shouldn't be more women helms. Perhaps, in the past we have been underestimated, so it is nice that Becca and I can prove otherwise. Hopefully, there will be more in the future".

Oxford's Yachting Captain and skipper of Blue, Becca Anthony, and White's skipper and OUYCs Cruising Captain Ryan Schenk, were joined by the new joint Yachting Captain, Annika Möslein to explain Oxford's approach to entering the event this year. "This is the first time for Oxford to have two teams here. The aim was to get more sailors involved and build a squad for future years, giving freshers an opportunity to race. It is all about accessibility, opportunity, including for some who have never raced, and sustaining capacity for the future."

Oxford White will have been pleased to be nominated by the Coach as the most improved team through the Championship, as well as recognition of their baking prowess.

Swansea certainly showed significant improvement too as they achieved third in the Championship, not having had a podium finish since records of the event began back in 1996. Bella Cooper, Swansea's Commodore, reflected that, "BUCS Yachting nationals this year was very competitive, and the varying conditions challenging. The running of the event was a real testament to BUSA and all its volunteers, and the coaching aspect helped all teams improve during the week."

"As for my team, having never sailed together, they adapted to the conditions and worked together extremely well. We sailed cleanly and fast, made some great tactical calls. After three years at Nationals, me and my helm Robbie were ecstatic to finish our university yachting on such a high note."

Murray Hampshire, Exeter's helm, who had helmed his match racing crew to Silver in the BUCS Match Racing Championships a fortnight before and then gone on to captain the victorious Exeter team in the Team Racing Championship last week, summed things up after this week's success. "It was a lovely way to end three years' student sailing - a good three years, a good three weeks. Racing here was very close and went our way today, but it could have gone anywhere. Huge congratulations to Edinburgh, with great results across the event." Murray mentioned how pleasing it was that their team, mainly from a dinghy, non-keelboat background, worked so well over the week.

The RYA again provided a coaching team, led by Mason King, over the week, with on-the-water observation, videoing and, for some crews where coaching resources allowed, on-board consultation. One of the guest coaches was Niall Myant-Best, the British Keelboat Academy (BKA) Head Coach, was at the event for Wednesday, when there was plenty of time for on-board coaching. Niall did the event twice for Solent University (then the Institute), going on to win the Worlds and has coached Solent three or four times. He said of the BUCS Championships: "Each time standards improve, and you get a sneak peak at the next generation of keelboat sailors. Soon to be going out from university - and some will be looking to sail professionally it (the Championships) creates a pool of skilled sailors for the yachting community to pick from."

All information, including on-line results and progress with protests etc was provided on the online Official Notice Board:

Frequent updates on the racing and photos throughout the day (for the photos, thanks to Karen Rawson of Sunsail) were posted on the BUCS Yachting Championships Facebook event page:

There was Abby West's blog (when she is not holding on for dear life!) at BUSA Sailing Twitter:

The fleet could be tracked on Marine Traffic's tracker:

Photographs taken by Harry Bowerman, BUSAs Keelboat Officer, on Monday and Wednesday may be found at:

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