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Rowena Conway

Michaelmas Term 2017

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The Dinghy side has had an exciting term with trials and lots of training and events! We are really excited to see our squad shaping up with three competitive mixed teams and two strong ladies teams looking forward to BUSA and Ladies Nationals respectively!

The Magnum was a great success with our fixtures secretary, Lauren, doing an amazing job making sure everything ran smoothly. We also attended two events, The Welsh Dragon and the Bristol Brew. We really enjoyed hosting Doshisha University as part of the triannual OUYC-DUYC exchange.

All in all it has been a very successful term on the dinghy side and we are excited for the next calendar year.

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas.

Welsh Dragon

The Welsh Dragon saw the first time the Oxford teams ventured beyond our comfort zone of Farmoor to face off against teams from over 20 other universities. It was an especially exciting weekend for the 5 fresher sailors that joined the squad this year. After an early start, we were set for an exciting two days racing!

The first day saw Cardiff bay battered by some very heavy winds, which proved quite tricky for our relatively small and new squad to cope with. Oxford Blue had a mixed bag of results winning 50% of their races. A particular highlight was a successful race against the Southampton Alumni team which saw Oxford turn a losing combination up the beat into a 1,2 into the finish. The newer Oxford White team raced some very competitive races against some of the best teams in the country.

Going in to the second day Oxford had secured itself places in the Silver and Platinum fleet. The second day was unfortunately struck by far lighter conditions. It was only at midday that the wind had picked up enough to get some races going again.  Oxford Blue did well to win its only race of the day. Oxford White put in a strong performance, despite multiple boat breakages, in the trying conditions.

Our thanks go to Cardiff University and all the volunteers for helping to make the event such a success.

Bristol Brew

Much like the Welsh Dragon, the Bristol Brew demanded an early start for our team of 6. The event was the first time that the Oxford Black helms were able to sail together in a competitive environment and if the event is anything to go by, they’re in for a very successful year!

We arrived at Chew valley lake to find a notable absence of any wind. The ensuing wait was well received with our squad taking them time to catch up on some sleep and prime themselves for the afternoon’s races. The afternoon allowed only two races, one of which we won, losing the last to the team that would eventually go on to the final.

After an enjoyable social the night before, Oxford Black hit the water in full force to win 5 of their 6 races. A particular highlight included Leon Lopez Brennan compressing a losing 1,4,6 into the best possible combination of 1,2,3. The expressions of amazement on the faces of the opposing team were very much matched by the members of our own team. Oxford Black finished the day in 3rd according to the number of race wins, but unfortunately didn’t quite clinch it into the semi-finals. We finished 5th overall owing to our points, but very happy with the performance of this newly formed team.

We would like thank Bristol and its volunteers for a well-run event.

The Oxford Magnum 2017

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Once again, Oxford University Yacht Club hosted the Magnum Regatta over the weekend 11th/12th November. The reputation of the event going before it we were oversubscribed with entries with 21 high-quality teams attending. This included our fleet racing friends from Doshisha University Yacht Club who adapted to the new boats and different style of racing remarkably quickly! It was also really nice to see lots of Oxford alumni competing.

The event was won however by a Bough Beech team who proved their dominance convincingly, not losing a single race over the weekend! They were closely followed by a Thames Exiles team and the Oxford and Cambridge Sailing Society in 2nd and 3rd respectively. Cambridge Blue were top university, finishing 4th overall.

 

The wind on saturday was very light which delayed racing at times. However the start boat persevered and we managed to get a reasonable number of races in before the close of play.

As always, the social was great fun, fitting 128 people in one restaurant is a challenge but nothing we couldn’t handle! On Sunday a cold northerly wind led to some exciting racing, with a decision being taken to change to cut downs. The conditions meant we were able to get lots of races in which more than made up for the lighter winds the day before, and spirits were high when racing finished.

 

Light winds on saturday

Congratulations to Bough Beech for their fantastic performance!

We would like to thank Keith and Jo for their exceptional effort, as well as the umpires, Lauren Davis, and all the volunteers who helped run the event so smoothly.

Thoughts are already turning to our next event, the Top Gun!

Racing underway on Sunday and Doshisha University

 

Photo credits: Nigel Vick

Oxford’s BUSA Campaign

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Our Dinghy Captain reports on OUYC’s BUSA campaign this year:

This year has been a year focussed on developing a squad which I have every faith will do exceptionally well in the years to come. We kept only one helm and one crew from last year’s first team, and we lost two helms from last year’s second team. Of Oxford Black, four of the team had never sailed for Oxford before, three of the team had not been seriously involved in team racing before, and four of the team have at least two more years sailing for Oxford. All but one of the second team will be sailing next year, and two of the helms have two more years at Oxford; all but two of the third team, Oxford Purple, will be sailing next year, including some sailors who put in exceptional individual performances at the qualifier, and have been improving at an alarming rate. Oxford Black finished ninth at the BUSA team racing finals at the ever-delightful West Kirby Sailing Club. Our second team, Oxford White, narrowly missed out on qualifying to attend play-offs; every team from our qualifier which attended play-offs went on to qualify for the finals. It must be acknowledged that – while our results this year were a vast improvement over last year’s results – they were not as strong as they have been in many years past. However, we should still count this year’s results as a great success. In light of the youth of the squad, this year’s result at the BUSA finals is in a few ways very positive. First, it is unheard of for a team with so little team racing experience to be so close to the quarter finals of BUSA. Secondly, it is extremely promising for next year’s BUSA performance to have done so well this year given how many of the squad have many more years of sailing for Oxford. Finally, it a testament to this year’s rate of improvement that, after just managing to make the top four at our qualifier behind two Southampton teams and the London first team, Oxford Black beat that London team and one of those Southampton teams by over 5 places at finals. For the reasons rehearsed above, Oxford Black went into this year’s finals with no expectations as to our results, and a focus on debriefing well, working together well, and learning as much as we could from each race. This strategy worked well for us, inviting comments from other teams on the quality of our debriefs, and resulting in genuine improvements. The inexperience of our team resulted in us losing some eminently winnable races against on the basis of unforced errors; however, losing races on the basis of such errors will quickly be ironed out by more event experience: the future is bright. I am very proud of the freshers in the squad, and how well they have taken on board my crash course in team racing. If I may end on a wistful note, it was pointed out to me by Swansea – who finished in 8th – that we won both of our races against them.

 

      Oxford Black at the BUSA ball                                                             Oxford Dinghy Squad 2016/17                                                                 
         
(from right to left) Lazar Liebenberg, Lucy Mellers,

Remi Pfister,Jenny Cropley, Joe Gough (captain),  Lauren Davis

 

Ladies Nationals 2017

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For the first time, due to a strong squad of girls, Oxford managed to enter two teams for the Ladies’ RYA BUSA National Team Racing Championships. The event was hosted at Spinnaker Sailing Club with Ed Morris as PRO. The forecast was for strong winds and, combined with the characteristic gusts and shifts of Spinnaker Sailing Club, the conditions were tough all weekend.

Despite this, the OUYC girls held their own with Oxford Blue and White finishing Saturday and Stage 1 of the round robin with a high percentage of race wins. Sunday’s conditions proved even more tough. The day started off with strong gusts but this did not phase the team who finished the round robin in admirable positions: Oxford Blue made it to the Gold League and Oxford White to the Silver. Oxford Blue finished League Stage with 100% race wins, including winning against the very strong Cambridge team, who had narrowly beat Oxford the previous day.

The afternoon saw Oxford Blue competing in the semi-finals. The wind had picked up and although some team-racing could still be seen, the race soon became a game of staying upright around the course – Bristol were defeated 2-0 due to some unfortunate capsizes. Sailing through to the final, Oxford were pitted against an alumni team from Scotland – RNCYC. The first race was admirably won with a 1, 2. A tough start for Oxford saw the second race lost and one boat unable to finish. The third race was won by the opposing team in a 1,2. Despite this defeat, meaning RNCYC were crowned overall, national champions, Oxford could still claim 1st place among the University teams and took home the BUSA trophy. Cambridge took second place, meaning we can anticipate an exciting Varsity match this summer.

Well done to all our girls, thank you to Spinnaker Sailing Club for hosting us, and thank you too all the umpire team. We look forward to attending the event again next year.

Oxford Blue:

Ali Bibby-Meli Besse (Captain)

Jenny Cropley- Anne-Laure Villa

Lucy Mellers- Rowena Conway

Oxford White:

Penny Wieser- Kitty Hatchley

Kathryn Cole- Clare Kendall-Bohoslawec

Gabby Lynch- Lauren Davis

(Dark) Blues at Bough Beech

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On the 19th November, OUYC took two teams to Bough Beach Sailing Club in Kent for an exigent one-day event. Attracting a number of top club- and graduate-level teams, the competition was high, but Oxford 1 and 2 gave it their all and put in some strong performances (with only a smattering of 4,5,6’s).

Conditions were light, with racing having to be postponed at times. But the smooth running of the event meant that a large number of races were fitted in despite this, with teams taking it in turns to umpire and run the start/finish boats.

The event was undoubtedly a great success; there was plenty of textbook team racing from all involved and certainly the odd master class in pushing the boundaries of rule 42.

Our thanks to John Platts-Mills and Phil Derry for organising and to Andy Cornah of Sevenoaks School for hosting the event.

Sustainability

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This year OUYC is once again working towards The Green Blue’s ‘University Sailing Sustainability Challenge’ and are hoping to surpass the bronze award we achieved last year.

The Green Blue is an environmental programme developed by the British Marine Foundation and the Royal Yachting association. By working towards an environmentally sustainable boating community they hope to help all those who are regularly out on the water to save money, avoid red tape and safeguard our waterways and habitats for the future. (Have a look at their website http://thegreenblue.org.uk for more information!)

At OUYC we are so excited to be part of this challenge again and are excited to embark on a new year of sailing with the environmental impact of our sport at the forefront of our minds. It’s so important that we look after the waterways that sustain our sport and tsustainabilityhat we remain aware of the damage we could be doing to the environment we rely on. This year we are hoping to combat issues such as pollution, waste and invasive species in order to make our club as sustainable as possible.

 

OUYC at UKTRA last year with our reusable water bottles

28th Generations Event

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On Saturday 1st October the Oxford and Cambridge Sailing Society hosted the 28th Generations event at Farmoor. Conditions were light but racing was able to go ahead, albeit with a long lunch break, which was an improvement on some recent years!

generations-racingThe red fleet convincingly win a start

Oxford Current held their own against some impressive competition but it was Cambridge late 00’s who were the overall victors.

generations-winning-team

The Cambridge late 00’s team and Lottie Rapson

 

The event itself was thoroughly enjoyable. It was great to see old members coming back and clearly still enjoying time on the water, as well as catching up with some of our more recent leavers. The fun continued in to the evening which was spent at Kellogg College.recent-oxford

 

Oxford Recent Leavers

 

 

 

 

We would like to in particular thank Lottie Rapson (Oxford Ladies Captain 2014/2015) for her hard work in organising the event.

Photo Credits Anthony Butler

 

A weekend of close racing between OUYC and the Squadron Academy…

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Over the Bank Holiday weekend a team from OUYC were hosted by the Royal Squadron in Cowes for the annual Sheldon Trophy which is contested between the Squadron Academy and Oxford University.

On Saturday we familiarised ourselves with the J70’s on our sail over to the race course and then began racing. The racing was close and we had an early win which was a confidence boost for the team. Conditions were changeable, we began with spinnakers allowed, although one boat made the tactical decision to not use their spinnaker which enabled them to successfully luff an opposition boat who were using their spinnaker. As the wind increased the decision was made to not use spinnakers making tactics on the downwind leg even more important.

After the racing we were made very welcome at Jamie Sheldon’s family home, with some of our team electing to take a pre dinner dip in the river Yar. We then enjoyed a delicious BBQ along with the squadron sailors. The evening was a lot of fun and we would like to take this opportunity to thank Jamie and his family for their hospitality (and patience with us the next morning!).
The racing on Sunday was close once again with strong winds testing our boat handling skills. Unfortunately the experience of the Squadron Academy meant they had the upper hand and were able to emerge victorious but all the races were closely fought.

Overall we had a fantastic weekend, sailing the J70’s was an exciting new experience for some of our team with everyone taking to the boats quickly. We would like to thank Jamie Sheldon for his hard work organising the event, our Race Officer Tony Singer, the Squadron for their hospitality and everybody else who contributed to such an enjoyable event.

IMG_3843

   The Oxford Team

Joining OUYC for 2016/17

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Congratulations if you have just received your results!

We are looking for keen sailors to join OUYC for the 2016/17 academic year. The Dinghy squad will have preseason training during the week beginning 26th October so if you have previous experience and would like to join us for that please get in contact with our Dinghy Captain, Joe Gough, dinghy-captain@ouyc.co.uk, who will be able to provide further information. We will also have a stall at Freshers Fair where squad members will be happy to answer any questions you have and on Wednesday 19th October (windy seshprovisional date only) we will host our Welcome Drinks event to provide you with more information and the opportunity to sign up to trial for the squad. We are looking forward to meeting you all!