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The Sheldon Trophy 2017

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OUYC’s team racing squad travelled to Cowes over the weekend of the 2nd and 3rd of September for their annual J70 team racing match against the Royal Yacht Squadron. For the first time Cambridge were also invited to the match making the levels of competition higher than ever.

Light winds on Saturday morning made for a very pleasant ride to Cowes on the Squadron launch but didn’t serve us well once we sailed to the race area with racing postponed until well into the afternoon. A windless race saw Cambridge clinch an early victory against Oxford in their first match after over half an hour of drifting which made tactics all but impossible, let alone sailing! It was a similar story for our first match against the Squadron team.

The wind filled in late in the afternoon which allowed for some proper racing to get underway. Oxford sailed one more race before racing finished for the day, again against Cambridge. A close fought prestart saw Oxford occupy two Cambridge boats at the pin end of the line which allowed the remaining Oxford boats a fast start next to the committee boat. Places continued to shuffle all the way around the racecourse with Oxford rounding mark 4 just behind in a 2,3,6. However, some impressive boat handling from the Oxford crew saw the 6th place boat sneak to windward of the 5th place Cambridge boat and proceed to tack through them up the final beat allowing Oxford to snatch back a victory.

Saturday evening saw the Squadron host us for dinner and drinks on The Platform with incredible panoramic views out over the Solent. We would again like to reiterate our thanks to the Squadron for the invitation, to the individuals who organised the dinner, and to the Squadron staff for the excellent hospitality they provided.

Sunday saw stronger winds and constant drizzle which allowed the heavier Cambridge crew to capitalise and secure the match trophy. Oxford raced well though and took races off the Squadron team demonstrating a very promising improvement on last year’s performance. With Oxford putting the experienced Cambridge team under pressure in every race, we have clearly made great advances in our squad’s strength over the summer and look forward to returning to training in October.

Cambridge win battle for Top Gun trophy 2017

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Cambridge University (L-R: George Hopes, Hugo Sloper, Jamie Webb, Tim Gratton, James Pinder, Cat Wallace)

The Top Gun Invitational Trophy 2017 ran over the 4th and 5th of March and saw the top 8 university teams fight for the title and prizes kindly provided by Moet Hennessy.

Saturday produced ultimate team racing conditions with 86 races completed leaving team on 15 or 16 races each by the end of the day. Our thanks to the West Berkshire Brewery for providing an excellent selection of delicious beers which the competitors were able to enjoy at the close of racing.

On Sunday racing started promptly on storm sails in order to make the most of aggressive winds. Unfortunately after little more than an hour the conditions became unsailable and racing was postponed. Conditions refused to improve so the call was made to abandon any further racing and the results were decided from stage 1. The standings were clear with no ties needing to be broken – thanks to Keith Sammons at KSail for his help with the scheduling and scoring.

OUYC would like to thank all the teams for travelling the distance to attend the event, our umpire team for their invaluable service, and our event sponsors Moet Hennessy and West Berkshire Brewery.

 

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.

Birdham Bandits cruise to Magnum victory

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Birdham Bandits (c-wise from top left: George Yeoman, Tim Saxton, Sam Littlejohn, Rosie Sibthorp, Sophie Ormsby, Holly Scott)

The Oxford University Yacht Club’s Oxford Magnum 2016 ran over the weekend of 12th-13th November and was once again very oversubscribed with a large number of entries from strong university and club sides. The stage was set for an excellent weekend of top notch team racing across four flights.

Saturday 12th saw racing kick off in light but steady breeze which gradually died to nothing by 13:00. Seamless race management by Jo Lucas alongside a very able team of OUYC volunteers allowed us to get through 44 races of the HLS round in the 3 hours of light breeze that we had producing the following standings at the end of day 1:

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Day 2 saw the format break straight to round 2 which was gold (1-6), silver (7-14), and bronze (15-20) leagues. Sunday really gave us the best conditions that Farmoor has to offer with cloudless blue sky and a steady 8-10 knots of breeze. Despite a serious collision requiring the use of a reserve boat and also snapping another boat’s rudder stock, racing continued practically unimpeded with the leagues being completed in excellent time.

At the end of the leagues the semi finals were drawn. Royal Thames led the way in the gold league so were matched against Society who hadn’t dropped a race and so came out top in the silver league. Semi final 2 matched 2nd and 3rd from gold who were Wessex Exempt and Birdham Bandits respectively.

Birdham sailed through their best-of-3 semi in relative comfort finishing 2-0 against Wessex and taking the first place in the final. Their eventual rivals Society had a harder time of it, losing their first match against Thames who held a textbook 1,4,5 to the finish. However Society fought back and took the next two races 1,3,5 and 1,2,6.

The final saw some top notch team racing from both sides with some closely contested starts. However, the reigning UKTRA champions proved too strong and sailed to a convincing 3-0 lead.

1st – Birdham Bandits – George Yeoman, Tim Saxton, Sam Littlejohn, Sophie Ormsby, Holly Scott, Rosie Sibthorp

2nd – Society – Pete Gray, John Platts-Mills, Owain Matthews, Lib Manser, Ben Rahemtulla, George Clarke

Overall league results:

screen-shot-2016-11-16-at-11-39-44

OUYC’s thanks go out to:

Our umpire team: Greg Eaton (chief), Bruce Hebbert, Chris Lindsay, Nick Rusbridge, Nigel Vick, Steve Watson, Ed Fryer, Paul Robson.

Race management: Jo Lucas, Keith Sammons

Finish boat: Amanda Hebbert

Event sponsors: Moët Hennessy (https://www.lvmh.com/)

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.

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   The Oxford Team

Oxford Wins 2016 Yachting Varsity Match

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The Oxford University yacht racing team scored a decisive victory against Cambridge at the 2016 Yachting Varsity Match last weekend, winning five races out of seven and ending Cambridge’s three-year winning streak.

The Varsity Match was sailed in Sunsail Match 40 First yachts on the Solent over Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th March, the weekend preceding BUSA Championships, as a part of a fleet race in the Sunsail Chiller series. With extremely light forecasts looming over BUSA finals in the following week, the Varsity Match was fortunately sailed in near-perfect conditions with 12-17 knots of relatively stable north-easterly breeze.

Oxford made a strong start in the very first race, winning the Committee boat end of the line and maintaining their position near the top of the fleet of 11 boats through the first beat from Peel Bank to North East Ryde Middle. As the fleet split on a closely fought downwind leg, Oxford headed right of the fleet to protect their wind while Cambridge made gains by taking a more direct route. Rounding the bottom mark with Cambridge one boat behind, Oxford managed to maintain their lead through the second lap, losing a couple of places in the fleet to spinnaker troubles and finishing 5th, with Cambridge barely a boat length behind in 6th place.

In the second race sailed around the same ‘sausage’ course, Oxford recovered from a poor start after being shut out at the Committee boat end of the line. However, good boat speed on the upwind legs combined with Lulu Wallis’s Buoy Racer-inspired tactical calls brought Oxford back into a very close race, scoring a respectable 5th place and leaving a boat between them and Cambridge in 7th.

The third race, sailed on a ‘trapeze-sausage’ course, saw a dramatic twist when the Oxford team ripped their spinnaker in the first drop at the bottom mark, despite the previous night’s efforts to tape every remotely sharp part of the rigging and bow. This left them vulnerable on the final downwind leg and Cambridge were closing in fast. Using the spinnaker pole to goose-wing the jib instead, Oxford held their ground and only dropped a few places behind in the fleet. The race came down to the final metres, with Cambridge managing to squeeze their bow across the line just ahead of Oxford, winning them their first race against Oxford and bringing the score down to a two point difference.

The Oxford crew managed to source a new spinnaker for the fourth and final race of the day. After a disappointing start from both Oxford and Cambridge, the two teams sailed as close a race with each other as permitted by the gentlemen’s agreement of not match racing each other at Varsity. There was some more downwind drama in the final leg of the race, as Oxford protested Cambridge for breaking rule 17. Regardless, Oxford finished the race a place ahead of Cambridge and later dropped the protest.

It was Oxford’s turn to organise a dinner with Cambridge for the Saturday night this year and as it turned out, the team were much less organised on the shore. After many failed atempts at booking a table for 15 with half an hour’s notice on Saturday night, the Oxford bowman (aka “Mr Max”) struck gold with an Indian Restaurant namped “Royal Spice” that was completely empty on our arrival. Despite initial suspicions, both teams had an enjoyable dinner together and even managed to catch the end of the England-France rugby game before getting a relatively early night.

The first race on Sunday was perhaps the most closely fought of the Varsity Match, with a strong start from Cambridge, followed by Oxford making gains on each of the beats and Cambridge again catching up on the runs. In the dramatic downwind finish at Peel Bank, Cambridge again managed to pull ahead by a few metres just before the line, finishing 4th in the fleet with Oxford in 5th.

The Oxford crew consolidated their lead over Cambridge in the second race of the day. A bold tactical call by Lulu Wallis separated Oxford from the rest of the fleet and paid off, catapulting them into second place by the first mark. On the run from Browndown to Peel Bank, strong pit work from Katie Ward allowed Oxford to protect their position, dropping into fourth on the second beat after getting caught in a lull. In the trapeze section of the course around Motherbank and Mackley van Oord marks, Oxford were one of only two boats in the fleet who managed to pull off a hot reach with all three sails, shooting past the competition to finish the race in 2nd place, with Cambridge in 6th.

After a dramatic pre-start to the final race that saw two other yachts in the fleet crash into each other with enough force to throw a bowman into the water, Oxford once again sailed well and remained in the top three up to the very end of the race, when failing to spot a heavy bias in the finish line early enough cost them a place, leaving Oxford in 4th and Cambridge in 8th.

Overall, the Oxford team finished 5th in the regatta with 35 points, and Cambridge in 7th with 45 points after discards. With Varsity won, the Oxford yacht racing team now have four days of BUSA ahead of them on the same Sunsail F40 in more challenging, light wind conditions. A proper celebration may have to wait.

 

Oxford Blue

Skipper: Josh Bell

Tactician: Lulu Wallis (capt.)

Mainsail Trim: Bryn Phillips

Trim 1: Marianna Voudouroglou

Trim 2: Eerik Toom

Pit: Katie Ward

Mast: Laurence Maschio

Bowman: Max Jamilly