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The Excalibur, the Duck and the Big Lash, all in one weekend!

'Big Lash - The Excalibur, the Duck and the Big Lash, all in one weekend!'    © Philip Shepherd

The weekend of 8 and 9 March saw fifty-eight teams turnout for three of the best university sailing clubs’ team racing events of the year – Manchester and Liverpool’s Big Lash at West Kirby SC, Exeter’s Excalibur on Roadford Lake and the London Duck at BTYC Sailsports Club on Welsh Harp Reservoir. Current university students, alumni, clubs, youth and schools competed.

The Big Lash 2014:

Chris Mclaughlin, Big Lash Secretary, writes: 'The Big Lash 2014, Manchester and Liverpool Universities’ annual team racing event, took place at West Kirby Sailing Club (WKSC) on eighth/9th March. The event was a great success, with 24 teams from all over the UK competing in some testing weather conditions.

Upon arrival at WKSC on Saturday morning, racing was postponed with average wind speeds of 25-30 knots, gusting up to 38 at times. Fortunately the wind started to drop at around midday and racing got underway at 13.45. The teams were split into three leagues and by 17.30, we had completed 64 of the 84 races in the round robin, with Cardiff 3, Durham 2 and West Kirby on 100% wins. Our event sponsors, Summer Sail Week, laid on a free BBQ for competitors as they came off the water on Saturday afternoon, which was greatly appreciated by all!

On Sunday morning all looked good to get underway for 09.27 as planned; however, the wind dropped off to almost nothing, so racing was again postponed, although only for a short while. As soon as it filled, teams got on the water, and we managed to complete the round robin.

Due to time constraints as a result of the weekend’s weather conditions, we split straight to quarter-finals, the qualifying teams being: Cardiff 3, West Kirby, West Kirby Youth, Newcastle 2, Magdalen College School, Bristol Old Boys, Durham 1 and Durham 2. Bristol Old Boys, Magdalen College School, West Kirby and West Kirby Youth progressed to the semis.

During the semi-finals the wind dropped again to almost nothing, but we completed them with the winners being Bristol Old Boys and West Kirby. Racing was again postponed and then at 1445, after a quick course change, we went straight to a first-to-two wins final and a third place playoff.
Big Lash - The Excalibur, the Duck and the Big Lash, all in one weekend! -  © Philip Shepherd  

The overall results of the semis and finals were:
West Kirby
Bristol Old Boys
Magdalen College School
West Kirby Youth

Congratulations to West Kirby for winning the event and, therefore, the first prize of half price entry to the Big Lash 2015. In second place, and winning the £600 Summer Sail Week vouchers, were Bristol Old Boys.

Big Lash - Bristol Old Boys (winners the uni/alumni prize) - The Excalibur, the Duck and the Big Lash, all in one weekend! -  © Philip Shepherd  

The socials over the weekend were great fun, and I think it would be fair to say that the event lived up to its name!

Many thanks to our sponsors, Summer Sail Week, for providing the prize of £600 Summer Sail Week worth of vouchers to the top student/alumni team and the free BBQ for all competitors. In addition, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the umpires for all of their time and effort in making the event a success.

'Finally, a huge thank you to West Kirby SC for their extremely generous help and support in the organisation of all aspects of the event'.

The London Duck:

London’s Commodore, Alison Norbury, reports: 'The event kicked off bright and early Saturday morning with cracking conditions, sun and a steady breeze. 81 races were sailed in the round robin and all teams were off the water by 4.30 giving plenty of time to enjoy the sunshine and head back to London to prepare for the evening social.
Duck - The Excalibur, the Duck and the Big Lash, all in one weekend! -  Konrad Weaver  

After a great 90s-themed night out, racing commenced in the morning with perfect conditions yet again. There were definitely a few sunburnt faces seen throughout the day. With all 120 races of the round robin completed by 1.00, a ‘King of the Hill’ series of knockout races was held with the fleet in two halves, giving all the teams a last attempt to gain some places.
Duck - The Excalibur, the Duck and the Big Lash, all in one weekend! -  Konrad Weaver  

Starting with the bottom two teams, the winners of each race stayed in the boat, while the losers changed with the next highest placed team from the round robin. This culminated in a gripping final between the Itchenor and Irish Alumni, who had done very well to be in the final considering they missed their first races due to several lost passports at the Friday night social! Itchenor took the title and the £600 holiday voucher prize in a two nil victory over the Irish Alumni.
Duck - The Excalibur, the Duck and the Big Lash, all in one weekend! -  Jack Sheldrake  

'Thank you to all involved in running the event, the umpires and all the teams for coming. Also thanks to our sponsors Summer Sail Week for putting up the prize. It was a cracking event and we hope to see you all at the six pack in November'.
Duck - The Excalibur, the Duck and the Big Lash, all in one weekend! -  Jack Sheldrake  

Duck - The Excalibur, the Duck and the Big Lash, all in one weekend! -  Konrad Weaver  

The Exeter Excalibur 2014:

Exeter’s Vice-Commodore and Excalibur organiser (twice!), Tamsin Davies, said: 'We had two fantastic days at Excalibur this weekend. After watching the forecasts with bated breath, we couldn’t have had better weather. We arrived bright and early on Saturday morning and Katy Moulder and I made the call to rig with cut downs with a few white horses on the lake by 7:30am and the wind forecast to build slightly during the day. Despite getting off to a slightly slow start with the racing, we eventually got going and successfully completed a round robin by 2:30 and moved into gold, silver and bronze, getting in another 20 races before calling it for the day.
Excalibur - The Excalibur, the Duck and the Big Lash, all in one weekend! -  Cameron Ho  

'With a breeze of 15 to 20 knots, gusting up to 25 and beautiful sunshine and temperatures reaching 15 degrees, we had a fantastic first day. Slightly sunburnt, but happy, we headed back to Exeter with everything in gold fleet still to play for between ‘The Alumni on Top’, ‘Exeter Gently’, ‘Exeter AllStars’, ‘Plymouth Old Boys’, ‘Soton Blue’ and ‘Soton Black’.

We arrived on Sunday feeling slightly the worse for wear to find Roadford looking like glass. This was not what we were expecting after Windguru had proved to be spot on all day Saturday and had promised a nice eight to ten knots, gusting 13 and yet more sunshine! Whilst contingency plans were discussed, Katy and I remained determined the wind would fill in. We had boats launched and ready to go as soon as breeze arrived.

Our patience paid off, and we had beautiful breeze and were able to fly through the last 25 races of the second round robin. Having started the morning discussing whether or not we would even finish the 25 races, we then had to make a decision as to whether to sail a third round robin. However, with England v Wales kicking off mid afternoon and the lack of TV and clubhouse at Roadford, we went straight into finals.

Portsmouth 1 finished first in the silver fleet, but narrowly lost to Soton Blue in the quarters, which went to three races. The semi-finals saw Plymouth Old Boys beat Soton Black, and Alumni on Top securing wins over Soton Blue. We were left with two Southampton teams facing one another for third place, which was taken by Soton Black.

In a very heated final, from the Race Office and the shoreline it looked to be a two - one victory for Alumni on Top. However, due to confusion in the second race and a mistaken raising of the X flag, we were forced to hold a hearing after Plymouth Old Boys sought redress. In a fantastic last race, Plymouth stormed into an early one, two and held it.

The inaugural awarding of the Richard Ward Trophy went to Plymouth Old Boys, second place to Alumni on Top and third to Soton Black. We hope you are able to get a good amount of use of your prizes, kindly donated by Jimmy Green Marine.

The Richard Ward Trophy has been generously donated to the Club in recognition of the outgoing chair of the Exeter University Alumni Committee, Richard Ward and replaces the missing trophy that has not been seen for ten years or so. With its strong links to Exeter University Alumni, it was a slight disappointment that the Exeter Alumni were not quite on top.

'I would like to extend my thanks to Martin Smethers as PRO, umpires Jack Fenwick, Nigel Vick and Richard Stanley. Katy Moulder did an outstanding job in helping organize the event and running the race office and racing so smoothly for the weekend. A bottle of wine is certainly not enough to say thank you for all Katy’s hard work!'
Excalibur - The Excalibur, the Duck and the Big Lash, all in one weekend! -  Cameron Ho  

Detailed results:

Manchester and Liverpool Big Lash:

Quarters, Semis and Finals:

1.      West Kirby

2.      Bristol Old Boys

3.      Magdalen College School

4.      West Kirby Youth

5.      Cardiff 3

6.      Newcastle 2

7.      Durham 1

8.      Durham 2

Round Robin:



Races Sailed

Race Wins

Total Points

% wins

Average points


Cardiff 3







West Kirby







West Kirby Youth







Newcastle 2














Bristol Old Boys







Durham 1







Durham 2







Newcastle 1







Edinburgh Blue







Cardiff 1







Cardiff 2





















Edinburgh White







Newcastle 3














Sheffield 2







Sheffield 1














Manchester Green







Sheffield Hallam 1







Sheffield Hallam 2







St Andrews







London Duck:

Round robin:  


1. Itchenor

2. Dambusters

3. Irish Alumni Team

4. Sevenoaks 

5. Cambridge Grey

6. Surrey

7. Birmingham Red

8. Royal Hospital School

9. Imperial

10. Bath

11. Sevenoaks 2

12. Birmingham White

13. Leeds

14. Bangor

15. Kent

16. Clare's Court. 

King of the Hill:


Bottom 8

Race 1: Kent beat Claire's Court School

Race 2: Bangor beat Kent

Race 3: Leeds beat Bangor

Race 4: Birmingham White beat Leeds

Race 5: Sevenoaks 2 beat B’ham White

Race 6: Sevenoaks 2 beat Bath

Race 7: Sevenoaks 2 beat Imperial


Overall winner:  Sevenoaks




Top 8 - King of the Hill

Race 1: Royal Hosp School beat B’ham Red

Race 2: Royal Hosp School beat Surrey

Race 3: Cambs Grey beat R Hosp Sch

Race 4: Cambs Grey beat Sevenoaks

Race 5: Irish Alumni beat Cambs Grey

Race 6: Irish Alumni beat Dambusters

Race 7: Itchenor beat Irish Alumni Team

Race 8: Itchenor beat Irish Alumni Team


Overall winner: Itchenor

[The Final was to be ‘best of three’, so Itchenor won with two consecutive wins]


 Exeter Excalibur:

Gold Silver and Bronze Leagues – top four reflect final positions:

1        Plymouth OB

2.       Alumni on Top

3.       Soton Black

4.       Soton Blue

5.       Exeter

6.       Exeter Gently 

7.       Portsmouth 1

8.       Bristol 1

9.       Bristol 3

10.     Bath

11.     Plymouth 1

12.     Portsmouth 2

13.     Bristol 2

14.     Swansea White

15.     Swansea Green

16.     Lough OB

17.     FXU

18.     UWE

by Tony Mapplebeck


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5:08 AM Sun 16 Mar 2014GMT

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