Society take RYA crown; Cambridge take the British Universities’ title

RYA & BUSA Ladies’ TR Champs, Spinnaker SC
Nigel Vick
Perfect, but bitterly cold, winds blessed the Ladies’ Team Racing Nationals at Spinnaker Club this weekend (23rd-24th Feb 2013). The nation’s top female team racers descended eagerly, upon Spinnaker Club, for what was the second inaugural combined RYA and BUSA Ladies Team Racing Championships, and disappointed they were not; as 182 races were run across the weekend in cold 8-12 knot north easterly breezes.

The ever efficient combined organisers; Wessex (Southampton University) and Spinnaker Sailing Clubs, led by Martin Smethers (PRO) and put on a real display, and allowed a double round robin to be completed by 1500 on Sunday. This meant that the fourteen teams each sailed 26 races. The entry list boasted nine Universities and five open teams including Rutland Raiders, the only true 'Club' team. It was clear that the standard of ladies team racing has dramatically improved and many races were not decided until the very last beat. Both the start/finish boats and umpire team, overseen by Greg Ansell, were kept busy by the fast paced format coupled with a high level of sailing.

Racing ran without hitch from 1000 till 1630 on Saturday meaning that 95 races had been run. Each team had sailed at least 13 races, and already Society, captained by Oxford Graduate Claire Lasko, had emerged as front runners as the only team to not have dropped a race. Chasing behind them was BUSA White and Pink. Cambridge University were in fifth place and leading the BUSA Championship with Southampton and Exeter chasing hard, in 6 and seventh places respectively.

RYA & BUSA Ladies’ TR Champs, Spinnaker SC - © Nigel Vick - RYA & BUSA Ladies’ Team Racing National Championships 2013
Nigel Vick

To complete the second round robin, 87 races were needed to be run on Sunday. With the promise of good breezes early on, the Race Committee opted for a 0900 warning signal. Despite a lively and well supported social in Student Haunts of Southampton (mainly Jesters) amazingly only Exeter and Bristol Pink fell foul to early start, throughout though racing ploughed on and by 1500 the 182 races had been run.

The overnight break in proceedings seemed to favour some teams whilst others had clearly enjoyed the social a little too much. In the BUSA Competition, Cambridge cemented their lead and finished the event as BUSA Champions. In the end they notched up with 20 race wins and finished fourth overall just in front of Rutland Raiders, and long way ahead of the other Universities. The true success story of the day goes to Cardiff University, the team who had enjoyed a very average first day, but seemed to be an entirely different team on Sunday where they 'rocked up and cleaned up' by losing only to Open teams. Lead by, Spinnaker local Iona Taylor, they won all but two of their races on Sunday to rocket up the leader board into sixth place overall and second University. Cardiff were closely followed by Exeter University, with Sevenoaks School, the youngest team at the event, in eighth. A great achievement for them!

RYA & BUSA Ladies’ TR Champs, Spinnaker SC - © Nigel Vick - RYA & BUSA Ladies’ Team Racing National Championships 2013
Nigel Vick

At the top of the table Society looked to be far and away the most drilled team on the water and continued in their winning ways to take the event without loss, despite good attempts by both BUSA teams to try and upset the Oxbridge 'tour de force'.

There were no knock-out rounds and this seemed to suit the parallel running of the two championships (National and Universities) and had the added bonus of resulting in well supported prize giving followed by a regatta tea laid on by Spinnaker Club. In the prize giving Society praised the organisers for a well organised event and said that they hoped to see everyone back next year to compete once again. Huge thanks must go to all the officials and volunteers and especially Becky Thomas, who, despite sailing in the event as Southampton Ladies captain, managed to organise the army of helpers from Wessex who helped to make the event go so smoothly.

RYA Champions, 'Society' - © Nigel Vick - RYA & BUSA Ladies’ Team Racing National Championships 2013
Nigel Vick

BUSA University Ladies’ Champions, Cambridge University - © Nigel Vick - RYA & BUSA Ladies’ Team Racing National Championships 2013
Nigel Vick

RYA & BUSA Ladies’ TR Champs, Spinnaker SC - © Nigel Vick - RYA & BUSA Ladies’ Team Racing National Championships 2013
Nigel Vick

Results:

RYA


1. Society
2. BUSA White
3. BUSA Pink
4. Cambridge
5. Rutland Raiders
6. Cardiff
7. Exeter
8. Sevenoaks School
9. Southampton
10. Oxford
11. Southampton Solent
12. Bristol Purple
13. Bristol Pink
14. Plymouth

BUSA

1. Cambridge
2. Cardiff
3. Exeter
4. Southampton
5. Oxford
6. Southampton
7. Solent
8. Bristol Purple
9. Bristol Pink
10. Plymouth