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British Universities’ Match Racing Championships at Southampton

by Tony Mapplebeck on 4 Apr 2013
The winners in action – Southampton Solent University - BUCS/BUSA Match Racing Championships 2013 Nigel Vick
The annual round of British student sailing championships – team, match and yacht racing – started last week with the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Match Racing Championships 2013.

Organised by British Universities’ Sailing Association (BUSA), in conjunction with the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), twelve teams, representing Bristol, Cambridge, Durham (2), Exeter, Imperial, Newcastle, Plymouth (2), Portsmouth, Southampton and Southampton Solent, raced for four days on Portland Harbour at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy in the RYAs fleet of Elliott 6m yachts.<

Nigel Vick reported on each day’s racing (from the vantage of his umpire’s RIB): ‘We had a full (first) day of racing, albeit most of the day without spinnakers. 10 flights were completed, so, with 12 entries, we completed two separate leagues of six each. Tomorrow, we will continue until everyone has sailed everyone else’. Plymouth 1 (Dan Wray) and Bristol (Nick Wilkinson) ended the day on five wins, with Southampton Solent (Philip Bendon) and Exeter (Jason Saints) on four wins.

On day two, 19 out of the 22 flights were completed, comprising the Round Robin. The wind was a little less, and spinnakers could be used. It was close at the top, with Plymouth 1 and Bristol on eight wins. Positions 8-12 were to be decided in league. but there would be playoffs to 12th.

Day three consisted of the completion of the Round Robin and the Quarter Finals, plus the ninth -12th place playoff. The first set of the Quarter Finals saw both Bristol and Plymouth 1 go through, each with two straight wins, whilst the second set required a deciding third match. Southampton Solent and Portsmouth (Tim Carter) emerged the winners from these. In the ninth -12th playoffs, Southampton (Tom Harrison) won three matches to finish innin place, whilst Imperial (Nick Lake), Durham 2 (Tom Quigley) and Newcastle (Sean Whelan) each had a single win, but finished in that order on tie breaks.

Day four saw the conclusion of the Championship and the first eight places.

BUSA Match Racing Champions 2013 are Southampton Solent University (Philip Bendon helming, with Bruno Van Dyke and Chris Tiernan). Despite going two down in the first to three points final, Philip raised his game to overcome an OCS in Match 3, setting up a thrilling deciding fifth race. In this Solent took Plymouth 1 high above the start line. Plymouth tried getting the kite up and, had it set, it could have been a different story - as it was Solent led off the line. However, a failure to cover in the light breeze, let Plymouth through on the second beat. But, again, a poor spinnaker host cost the Plymouth team (Dan Wray, Mathew Haslam, Jack Kilburn), and it was Solent first and Plymouth second at the finish.

In the third/fourth playoff, Portsmouth (Tim Carter, Fergus Barnham, James Vineer) also went two down and were sailing home, thinking it was first to two. Having been brought back to the course, Portsmouth then went on to win the next three matches against Bristol (Nick Wilkinson, Phil Sparks, Oliver Nainby-Luxmore), finishing in third place, with Bristol fourth.

A fifth – eighth sudden death playoff took place seeing Durham 1 and Exeter progressing to a fifth/sixth playoff. This left Cambridge and Plymouth 2, having both lost a match, to be placed by reference back to the Round Robin as seventh and eighth respectively.

The fifth/sixth playoff between Exeter (Jason Saints, Thomas Brophy, Alice Butler) and Durham (Ed Harrison, Konrad Weaver, Ed Thomas) was first to three and needed all three matches. Exeter took first blood, but Durham came back, taking both of the remaining matches and finishing fifth, with Exeter sixth.

Race Officer, Richard Kingsnorth summed up the Championship: 'Conditions started off being quite marginal. Frustratingly for those who could handle the conditions, I reduced the sail configuration to white sails only (no kytes) after the first flight of the first day, but at least we avoided breakages. The second day gave us about five knots less wind, which was repeated on the Wednesday, and on Thursday we were slightly concerned that we might run out altogether. From my point of view, it was an excellent event, and the feedback I received from competitors was unanimous that the format (four days) and venue (Portland) was a big improvement on previous years. All teams showed great improvement over the course of the week and, in the end, all went home with at least one win!!!' This was one of the coldest events many had competed in, or officiated at, but all left with the satisfaction at having participated in an excellent Match Racing Championship.

1 Southampton Solent (Philip Bendon, Bruno Van Dyke, Chris Tiernan)
2 Plymouth 1 (Dan Wray, Mathew Haslam, Jack Kilburn)
3 Portsmouth (Tim Carter, Fergus Barnham, James Vineer)
4 Bristol (Nick Wilkinson, Phil Sparks, Oliver Nainby-Luxmore)
5 Durham 1 (Ed Harrison, Konrad Weaver, Ed Thomas)
6 Exeter (Jason Saints, Thomas Brophy, Alice Butler)
7 Cambridge (Jack Davies, Matt Deacon-Smith, Honor Fell)
8 Plymouth 2 (Andrew Sinclair, Joe Cross, Dom Silman)
9 Southampton (Tom Harrison, Conrad Manning, Jonty Cook)
10 Imperial (Nicholas Lake, Josh Simcock, Maciej Adler)
11 Durham 2 (Tom Quigley, James Cunnison, Ian Cook)
12 Newcastle (Sean Whelan, Francesca Tagliaferri, Harry Frith)

For full results, click here.

168 student sailors, in 28 teams from 22 British universities, have converged today on Chew Valley Lake near Bristol for the BUCS/BUSA Team Racing Championships this week, whilst 216 student sailors, in 27 Sunsail F40s, representing 18 Universities, will be racing in the Solent next week at the BUCS/BUSA Yachting Championships.

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