The 2012 edition of the Student Yachting World Cup took place in the world-famous French port town of La Rochelle. Fourteen teams from top universities around the world competed for the crown after six exciting days full of races and student’s fun. The Irish team from University College Dublin achieved to outperform their main rivals from Canada, Italy and France bringing the prestigious trophy back to the Emerald Isle!
In the world-famous French port town of La Rochelle, the 32nd edition of the Student Yachting World Cup (SYWoC) got underway on the morning of the 29th of October. It was planned to last a whole week, until Friday, second of November. No less than fourteen crews from all around the world have gathered here on the Atlantic coast, representing their respective universities and countries. ‘Les Minimes’, the well-stocked race village at the harbour would cater to everyone’s needs for the next few days.
Following a briefing from the race committee, where the specifics of this year’s edition were explained, the SYWoC was meant to begin with a practice race that same afternoon – but this was unfortunately cancelled due to the bad weather! However, this gave everybody more time to adjust their Grand Surprise boats and prepare for the eventful days ahead, when a combination of windward-leeward and coastal races would decide the winner. The French team of Euromed Management School, were defending champions.
Early on, the Euromed team’s excellent performance showed that last year’s win was certainly no accident. They were in for some tough competition however: on those first two days the Irish and Canadian teams, from University College Dublin and Dailhousie University respectively, were already showing their teeth! But while the Canadians soon faltered, with some uneven performances in the next few days, the Irish showed remarkable tenacity – and consistently finished among the top three. There were a few other teams doing very well this year at SYWoC; for instance the Swiss team hailing from EPFL, and the Swedes of the Gothenburg Business School. The Irish and Canadian teams, as well as the French defending champions, were in for a serious challenge!
In the middle of this year’s schedule was the night race, one of SYWoC’s highlights; it would push everybody to the limit of their abilities. After five hours of sailing, it was the Italians’ turn to emerge victorious after narrowly beating the Euromed team, by a mere 20 seconds! The following day proved to be the last one of competition for this year’s SYWoC; the adverse weather conditions would prohibit any races for the remainder of the championship. But the coastal race, going around Fort Boyard and near Oléron Island, ensured it was a memorable one for the student crews taking part. The long inshore race that followed allowed everyone to take in the stunning landscapes of the French Riviera. That race was won by England this year.
But it was the Irish team from University College Dublin who were crowned world champions in La Rochelle, after two days on which the races were eventually suspended due to the bad weather. The teams from Canada and Italy finished on second and third place respectively, earning these results after some intense competition this past week. The closing ceremony at the City Hall, with La Rochelle’s mayor and the commander-in-chief of Ecole Polytechnique both present, gave all participating students the chance to gather one last time and share their experiences from this amazing week – and for the winning teams, it was also time to receive some excellent gifts from sponsor Rochet Watches.