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CoastWaterSports 2014

BUCS Team Racing Championship Finals 2023 at Grafham Water Sailing Club

by Tom Storey, Oxford Blue 23 Apr 2023 10:31 BST 11-13 April 2023
BUCS Team Racing Championship Finals 2023 © George Altham / PhotoBoat Photography

11th to 13th April saw the 28 teams invited to the BUSA Finals take to Grafham Water to engage in some top quality team racing.

We were summoned to the sailing club early on Tuesday morning in the hopes of a speedy start. Unfortunately, Imperial had other ideas as they made their best effort to get banned from finals again by smashing the BUSA chairs laptop as she desperately tried to register people. Nevertheless, Keith and his team of Cambridge helpers recovered lost time and rattled off 9 rounds of the Swiss League in an increasing breeze before the end of the day.

A forecast of strong and building wind made for another early start on Wednesday as 2 further rounds of the Swiss League were completed before news of '70 knot gusts' heading our way meant we were brought ashore and told to wait out the storm. Teams spent their time in a multitude of ways; some spent their time listening to Keith talk about knuckles in the clouds (a meteorological term we're certain he made up that day), others took the time give their teams a quick tutorial in race strategy, and Edward Salmon decided the time was best spent giving Bristol a tutorial of a different kind.

Thankfully, it appeared Keith did seem to know what he was talking about as he quickly got us out into the dropping breeze, squeezing in another round of the Swiss League before we came ashore for the BUSA AGM. Many important issues were discussed here; should the Irish be invited to BUSA, should it be mandatory that each team has a female helm (notably objected to by Imperial and Strathclyde who claimed "they can't get girls"), and should we allow more than 3 teams from each Club to come to Qualis.

The final day had more waiting around as the breeze was more than forecast. Eventually the decision was made to give it a shot and we managed to finish the round started the previous day before it was time to head into quarter finals. All who watched can agree the standard of racing was incredibly high with most quarters requiring all 3 races to decide their victor. Notable mentions go to Exeter Blue who closely lost to Cambridge Blue after placing 1st in the Swiss League, and Cambridge Red who, despite losing to Oxford Blue in their quarter, had already done incredibly well for a 2nd Team.

With UCD triumphing over Southampton Green and Cambridge Blue beating Oxford Blue in each semi we were left with a UCD vs Cambridge Final and after 4 races it was decided and UCD were BUSA Champions 2023 (although even they couldn't quite believe it demanding an extra races before heading in).

Little can be said about BUSA ball as few remember the entire thing. All we know is that the Irish, although good at sailing, hate fun turning up an hour late and refusing to sing a song, no one wanted to sit next to Exeter as they were unanimously voted the team with the worst chat, and everyone wanted to kiss Emma Hartley at the prize-giving.

Huge thanks must be given to Cambridge University Sailing and Windsurfing and Keith from KSail for running an superb event in incredibly tricky conditions.

Further thanks to KSail for their incredible event support in running the championships throughout the year.

Thanks to Rooster Sailing for the bibs and winners jackets!

A massive thank you to Oli King, Huw Tomkins and George Altham of PhotoBoat Photography for the photos throughout the week!

Full results can be found here.

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