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OUYC Conquer the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race

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After 13 days and nearly 2000 miles Talisman returned to Cowes

On 12th August 2018, five current and former Oxford University Yacht Club sailors started the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race. The marathon 1800 nm race, in which yachts circumnavigate the entire UK without stopping, is one of the toughest challenges in ocean racing. In thirteen days we covered 1988 nm, encountered gale force winds on Ireland’s rugged west coast, mountainous seas near the Hebrides, mythical islands in heavy fog and flat calms among North Sea oil rigs. OUYC is proud to be the first university team to have completed the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race.

The team – Simon Harwood (skipper), Max Jamilly, Mélisande Besse, Annika Möslein, Will Gibbs and Sean Linsdall – arrived in Gosport on Friday 10th August to prepare for the race. We had already completed several qualifying races this season and Simon had been working tirelessly to bring the boat up to scratch. Max and Sean jumped off the dock at Haslar Marina to give Talisman a thorough clean below the waterline. Annika joined us from Germany and, once the whole team was reunited, we headed to Gunwharf Quays for a drink and some serious race preparation at Tiger Tiger.

Reluctantly we woke early the next morning and hurried to stow over 600 kg of food and water before crossing the Solent to Cowes. Soon disaster struck: the team satellite phone, our connection to the outside world, stopped working. A big shout out to Max and ‘sat phone’ Gary for spending hours getting it sorted! With Talisman safely berthed at Cowes Yacht Haven, the team headed to the RORC Clubhouse for a briefing and BBQ.

Sunday 12th August was the big day: time to set off on our adventure. Following a last breakfast at Tiffin’s, we spent a nervous few hours on the dock while rumours trickled in forecasting 50+ kt winds and 20m seas in the North Atlantic. We enlisted a questionable French photographer for one last team photo and said goodbye to the dock for two weeks.

Annika Möslein, Mélisande Besse, Sean Linsdall, Max Jamilly, Will Gibbs and Simon HArwood (L-R)

The race started at 1200 from the Royal Yacht Squadron line, the fleet of 28 yachts all heading east towards No Man’s Land Fort, the first mark of the course. After rounding Bembridge Ledge, we did the first of many sail changes as the winds began to gather. The turbulent overfalls off St Catherine’s Point claimed our first seasickness casualty – but luckily Sean was fine after a few hours. As the wind shifted to the west we faced a long, uncomfortable beat to Portland Bill. Méli and Max fell ill too: unfortunately, this lasted a few days, complete with prehistoric vomiting noises and a traumatising experience for an unlucky dolphin.

Passing Bull Rock

As we approached Land’s End, the wind dropped to a pleasant 15 kt with flat seas, a welcome relief from the uncomfortable conditions of the last few days. We rounded Bishop’s Rock off the Scilly Isles at midday on 14th August and began our long upwind journey north-west through the Celtic Sea. Overnight the winds built to a steady 28 kt with regular gusts of 35 kt. After a few night time sail changes we woke up flying a double-reefed mainsail and storm jib. Just over twenty-four hours after leaving the Scilly Isles we passed the legendary Fastnet Rock and the jagged western outcrops of Ireland (Bull Rock and Great Skelling). Shrouded in clouds, they only briefly emerged from the fog. But our sights were firmly fixed north: towards the Hebrides and the gathering storms.

Storm Jib and Trysail up in a North Atlantic storm

Clearing the last outcrops of the Irish coast, we turned north for the 360 nm journey to St Kilda – the last waypoint before Muckle Flugga, a lonely rock in the Shetlands that marks the most northerly point of our course. Each day we received a satellite weather forecast courtesy of Meteorologist Paul (Will’s dad, who kindly read us the shipping forecast). This time the news was extreme: we were on track to cross the tail-end of a tropical storm in the next twenty-four hours. Gale force westerlies and high seas were a certainty. We held a crew briefing: being 100+ miles away from the nearest safe harbour, our options were limited so we decided to ride out the storm but be very conservative with our sail choices to minimise the risk.

Approaching St Kilda on the evening of 17th August, the wind was 35 kt and building. We dropped the mainsail, hoisted the trysail and storm jib and braced ourselves for a very rough night. As the waves rose around us, we had a tray of Jane’s legendary brownies to celebrate Annika’s 22nd birthday. What better way to party than during a storm in the North Atlantic!

Annika celebrating her 22nd Birthday at sea!

Sunrise on 18th August was hidden behind ominous clouds and the wind continued to worsen, as did the fearsome sea state. We measured a maximum gust of 45 kt before the wind instruments died, but bigger gusts continued to blow. Combined with monster waves which towered above Talisman, conditions were perfect for some amazing downwind sailing. All six crew members took the helm to surf at boat speeds over 18 kt. Simon reached 21 kt, a staggering speed with storm sails alone.

After the winds had died down to a moderate 25 kt, it was time to hoist the sails again and get back into the racing mindset. Talisman had other ideas, however: upon hoisting the mainsail we noticed that the top batten pocket had ripped. Méli led a great team effort involving sail patches and Gorilla tape to repair the sail as the wind continued to ease. Soon the conditions were glorious, and we decided it was finally time to make the most of them. Ready for a three-sail reach, we hoisted the lightweight spinnaker – but it spectacularly exploded after less than 5 minutes in the air! Replacing it with the smaller spinnaker, we began to make good progress towards Muckle Flugga.

Rounding Muckle Flugga

The last eighteen hours to Muckle Flugga truly was the calm after the storm, a brief stretch of downwind sailing in 15 kt winds. Even with our larger spinnaker destroyed, we made excellent headway through the chilly waters. As dusk gave way to darkness at 2200 on 19th August, we were delighted when Muckle Flugga finally came into sight and toasted with a glass (or two) of Champagne. It was time, at last, to head south into warmer waters.

Fixing the main in the North Sea

After rounding Muckle Flugga, the storms of the Northern Atlantic became a distant memory and the first 200 nm of our southwards journey were painfully slow due to weak and fickle winds. Morale was high thanks to Max’s constant stream of poor jokes and useless facts (I think we preferred him unconscious and seasick), not to mention regular sightings of dolphins, whales and seabirds and longer, warmer days. The light winds were short-lived and east of Aberdeen the winds picked up again to 35 kt again. We were reefing the mainsail at dusk when a particularly vicious gust tore a metre-long gash in the leech. We rapidly dropped the main and Simon ingeniously fixed the sail using deck sealant, sail patches and Gorilla tape. It was at moments such as this when our strength and cohesion as a team became invaluable. Special mention goes to Annika, who was almost launched skywards when a gust caught the sail as it lay on the deck. Soon the main was patched and re-hoisted just as darkness settled.

An uncomfortable last night at sea

After three days’ journeying south in very light wind, dodging oil rigs and wind farms in the North Sea the breeze steadily built as we approached the Thames Estuary. For the next 12 hours, our boat speed averaged 10 kt and we were soon at the Strait of Dover. We were ready to turn the corner and begin the final short stretch along the south coast to Cowes. But the conditions did not last: the wind veered to the west and dropped below 15 kt off Dover, before building again above 30 kt off Dungeness. Whilst putting in what we hoped would be the last reef of the race, disaster struck. A two-meter stretch of the mainsail leech ripped, making it unusable and resulting in a long night of beating towards Cowes under headsail alone, in storm force winds in torrential rain.

The end was almost in sight and it was agonising to be making such slow progress. Sailing between the traffic separation scheme and the Suffolk coast for six hours against an unfavourable tide, little progress was made, and team morale was low. But eventually the tide turned, and we began to make progress. After searching Talisman from top to bottom, every available sticky patch was used to fix the mainsail leech. We hoisted our patchwork sail for the last time and turned our sights (and stomachs!) towards the finish line.

Back in Cowes after a long and eventful two weeks at sea

At 1200 on 25th August, we passed No Man’s Land Fort to port, finally entering the Solent exactly 13 days after we started. Just over an hour later at 13:34 on 25th August, we finished in an elapsed time of 13 days 1 hour 34 minutes and 17 seconds. We finished 11th (IRC adjusted) out of 28 boats who started. The team was warmly welcomed on Trinity Landing by friends, family and the RORC race committee with several bottles of much-needed Champagne. Thrilled but exhausted, we rushed to the RORC Clubhouse for our first showers in two weeks.

OUYC would like to thank RORC and Sevenstar for organising such an incredible race. Most importantly, we would like to thank our skipper, Simon Harwood, for leading us round and, as always, for putting his trust in us whilst sailing Talisman!

Oxford Blue win Varsity and BUSA double.

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OUYC’s annual varsity match against CUYC took place over 24/25th March 2018 as part of the Sunsail Racing Series Round 2 in the central Solent. Day one saw perfect conditions of 15 knots. Oxford perfectly executed the start in race 1, despite Cambridge protesting us for having our spinnaker pole out as we crossed the start line (which the RC confirmed we didn’t!). We rounded the windward mark in first place executing a perfect spinnaker hoist and remained in first place for the rest of the race ending up with a well-deserved bullet. Race 2 again was a good start however not quite as close to the pin as we hoped for resulting in a fourth place at the windward mark, however, this was converted to a third place as we crossed the finish line several marks later. After one more race in which Oxford finished 7th Oxford and Cambridge both headed to Cowes for the annual varsity dinner at the ‘Richard Branson Curry House’.

Light winds were in store for day two of the Varsity match

Day 2 saw lighter winds, however, the Sunsail race committee still managed to run two excellent races despite the strong tides and rapidly decreasing winds. Race 4 resulted in an 8th (happy discard!). The final race of the 2018 varsity saw Oxford round the last windward mark in a strong third position, however with less than 100 m to go until the finish line the wind completely died and a strong easterly tide pushed Oxford over the finish line in fourth position. Giving them the varsity win having beaten Cambridge in every race over the weekend and coming fourth overall out of 19 teams.

Oxford: 1st, 3rd, 7th, (8th), 4th

Cambridge: 5th, 7th, 11th, 10th (14th)

Difficult conditions for Oxford Blue on day one

Immediately after Varsity was the annual BUSA Yachting Championships. Day one saw the whole BUSA fleet heading out of Portsmouth and through the submarine barriers for a couple of practice starts followed by two windward/leeward races in little breeze. Race two was raced in less than 7 knots! These did not suit us as we had trained in heavy weather all winter, resulting in a disappointing 21st and 16th place. The third race of day one was the short inshore race. The race started in a steady 10 knots from the south, we finally got back into the motions and were 8th to the windward mark. However, as we approached mark two (the main channel mark for all shipping leaving the Solent) the wind completely died and a strong easterly tide pushed us back out of the Solent. The wind finally filled in and the race was shortened to finish at Gilkicker point, with a disappointing 18th place.

Squally stormy conditions were more suited to Oxford Blue on day two

Day two saw stronger more stable winds, race three of the championship was another windward/leeward which we managed a much improved 5th place finish. The second race of the day was the long coastal race, which was a 21-mile tour of the central and eastern Solent, in very squally wet conditions. At the halfway mark Oxford was in a comfortable top ten position, however halfway way into a 5 mile beat towards Cowes our kicker strop broke causing us to drop a few positions. A brilliantly nailed lay-line into Gurnard and some excellent spinnaker flying back towards Portsmouth ended up with Oxford finishing 10th in the double points race.

Oxford Blue leading the BUSA fleet on a reaching leg of the long coastal race

With places to gain to reach the Championship fleet, we again headed out through the submarine nets into Langston Bay for three windward/leeward races on day three in shifty 10-12 knot conditions. Race 7 saw Oxford execute a textbook start reaching the windward mark in third place. Excellent spinnaker work and a beautiful bottom mark rounding ended up with Oxford rounding the last windward mark in second place. However, the only spinnaker wrap of the entire year occurred as we gybed onto the layline for the finish. Despite a rapid recovery we lost 2nd place and finished with a 13th, 9th and 14th on day 3. Sadly this was not quite enough for us to reach the Championship fleet, however, we went into the Trophy fleet on the last day in a strong position.

Challenging conditions on the last day in the Trophy Fleet

The final day saw Oxford competing in the trophy fleet with windy and difficult conditions (gust of nearly 30 knots!). Race one was a coastal race which saw Oxford reach the windward mark in 10 positions, a successful spinnaker hoist and some excellent sailing along a very windy reach, saw Oxford sail through the fleet into third at the second mark. The world faster spinnaker packer (León López Brennan) packed the hefty Sunsail Spinnakers in record time enabling Oxford to re-hoist and finish the race in a comfortable third place. The final race of the competition was another coastal race. After one general recall, the race eventually got underway, and an excellent first beat and a perfect layline call saw Oxford reach the first windward mark in first place. We successfully hoisted and flew our spinnaker in 25-30 knots of wind, whilst our competitors struggled all the way down the run. A gybe in difficult conditions was successful executed (despite a minor broach) maintaining our lead. The last leg was a four-mile fetch back to Portsmouth in gusty and difficult conditions. Despite this, we held onto our lead and finished the week off with a well-deserved bullet! This was enough for Oxford blue to win the Trophy Fleet.

Oxford Blue: Louis Manners (Trim 1), Annika Möslein (Pit, BUSA only), León López Brennan (Mast), Sean Linsdall (Main, Captain), Josh Bell (Tactics), Lulu Wallis (Bow), Becca Anthony (Helm) and Méli Besse (Trim 2)

Women’s Team Racing Nationals 2018

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On Friday 23rd February two Oxford Women’s teams set off to Glasgow for an exciting weekend competing at the RYA women’s national championships. Spirits were high and the nine hour minibus journey passed quickly.

The event soon got under way on Saturday despite the wait for wind thanks to the quick action of the race committee and the round robin got under way. Oxford Blue had a fantastic day on the water, winning all 10 of the races sailed with 9 of them won in a 1,2. Particular highlights have got to be the two races that we won having gone in to mark 4 with the opposition in a 1, 2. Oxford Crimson also had a great day, securing enough wins to see them placed in the silver league on Sunday.

We then were lucky enough to have a talk about becoming a race official and the general state of participation of women in sailing. We were really impressed by the productivity of this conversation and in general the fact that this seminar was included in the programme. As a club we are considering different ways that we can work to promote women in sailing, something that we consider really important to us. Tackling gender inequality within sport, and in particular within sailing, is something that we all need to be really proactive about and so starting conversations of this kind is an essential first step.

The fun of the day didn’t stop at the racing, with a Ceilidh to look forward to we headed back to Glasgow. Despite our dancing skills clearly not being comparable to our sailing ones, the more experienced Scottish sailors were very patient with us as we attempted to get the hang of the different dances. We really enjoyed the whole evening though we might need to put in some practice before BUSA finals!

Sunday was a cold start, so cold in fact that the lake was frozen when we arrived. The Siberian winds had clearly made it to Lochgelle, with the water temperature recorded at 0.5degrees. However eventually sailing got under way, with the day starting off in Leagues. Oxford Blue’s first race was set up to be a tough one. We were up against BUSA, the only other team who had won all their races on Saturday. The racing was tight and fast paced but Oxford managed to take the win in a 1,3 ,5, setting us up nicely for another competitive day. The league we were in was very close with lots of experienced sailors, meaning that when we broke for finals there was a three-way tie for the fourth place. Exeter won on tie break and so Oxford Blue, who had finished the league first, went in to the semi-finals against them. We continued our no-losses streak to finish 1,2 and 1, 3, 4, so that we just had the final ahead of us. RNCYC had won the other semi-final against BUSA and so the final was shaping up to be a repeat of 2017 where Oxford just missed out on finishing the overall event in first place to RYCYC. There was a certain amount of nerves as we sailed out and we unfortunately lost the first race. However we didn’t want to let this put us off and so we reset ready for the next race. We pulled off a good start and rounded mark 1 in a 1, 2 which we then held for the race, so that both teams were on one race win going in to the last race.

The final race was really close with lots of combination changes going round the course but we managed to win in a 1,3, making us the RYA Women’s Champions 2018 and also BUSA Women’s champions for the second year in a row! We are really proud of this achievement.

Oxford Blue (from left to right):

Jenny Cropley, Rosie Williamson,

Ali Bibby, Rowena Conway (captain),

Lauren Davis, Lucy Mellers

 

 

 

The whole weekend was a great experience, even with our slightly nightmare minibus journey home (7 hours in traffic on the M6 really isn’t an experience I want to repeat!) As a club we are really happy to continue to support women in sailing and in particular were proud that we were able to put out two competitive women’s teams, a great reflection of our ongoing commitment to promoting women within our club.

We would like to thank the universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde, the race officers, the umpires and all the helpers who put on such an enjoyable event for us! We definitely appreciated the unlimited toasties! We are already looking forward to the next Women’s event!

Imperial Icicle 2018

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Over the weekend 17th/18th February three OUYC teams competed in the Imperial Icicle. With Ladies BUSA the weekend 24th/25th February we entered our two Ladies teams and a third mixed team so that the girls could get some event experience before nationals.

Despite the light winds on Saturday morning, racing got under way reasonably quickly as soon as the wind filled in enough to keep the boats moving. Oxford Blue made a great start in the competition, only losing one race on Saturday which saw them placed second overnight. Oxford White and Oxford Black also had a good day, getting used to sailing with each other and indeed for one member of Oxford White getting used to team racing all together.

Some of our squad proved that they don’t just compete on the water, getting in to the spirit of the social with all the usual enthusiasm, though as those at the curry house will testify it was a rather eventful evening! However despite the late night antics our teams came back strong on Sunday morning, with Oxford Blue getting in to Gold League, Oxford Black in Silver and Oxford White in Bronze. Light winds and shifts proved testing, though a good opportunity for our fleet racer helms in Oxford White to demonstrate their incredible boat speed. In Gold, after some nail bitingly close races and results, Oxford Blue finished 3rd at the event. All looks promising for Ladies BUSA!

We would like to thank Imperial for organising a fantastic event, and providing exceptional hospitality.

Cambridge Blue Takes the Top Gun Trophy

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The Top Gun Invitational Trophy 2018 was earlier than usual, on a blustery weekend at the beginning of February. Eight University teams, from all over the UK and Ireland, descended on Farmoor to compete for the title and magnum bottle of Moet and Chandon.

With gusts of 28 mph and the wind set to build, Saturday started in cut-downs. The competition was tight, providing some fantastic races, but it was Southampton who finished the first day ahead, with 92% race wins.

The Annual Dinner on the Saturday night was a huge success, bringing different teams and members of OUYC past and present together. We would like to thank St Hugh’s College for hosting, Salcombe gin for providing the drinks reception, and to our social secretaries, Leon and Louis, for organising the event.

Bleary-eyed on Sunday morning, races began promptly, and Southampton and Cambridge began to edge ahead. The rolling fronts and building gusts necessitated the change from full mains to storms, and then to the postponement of racing, as even heavy, clunky fireflies began planing down the run. Fortunately our team of volunteers managed to take opportunity between fronts and run a best of three final. Southampton took the first, but it was Cambridge who triumphed and took the Top Gun trophy, in the end.

This event could not run without the hard work and dedication from our volunteers. We would like to extend our greatest thanks to the umpires, to Sam Jenkins our race officer, and all the on the water helpers who helped make the event a success.

Thanks too to Keith Sammons at KSail for his help with scheduling and scoring and also all the teams for travelling the distance to attend the event.

BUSA Qualifiers

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An uncertain forecast marked the beginning of what was to be a tumultuous weekend for the three fresh faced Oxford teams at this year’s BUSA South Central Qualifiers. The teams had been preparing for this weekend with eager anticipating at testing many of their new skills against other universities.

The wind on Saturday was less than forthcoming. With other Qualifiers having to be cancelled we were unsure what to expect. However, the race committee did a fantastic job accounting for the incredibly inconvenient 180-degree wind shift. Oxford Blue enjoyed a successful day with resident wunderkind Jenny Cropley single-handedly taking on Imperial Blue and winning the race for her team. Oxford White and Black were faced with an unfortunate draw but put in some strong performances against some very challenging teams. Oxford White in particular benefitted from the addition of team racing legend Ben Rahemtulla.

Sunday brought with it fantastic weather and an associated very early start. Oxford Blue put in a fantastic performance winning 12 of the 14 races they sailed that day. A particular highlight was beating Southampton Red after Lucy Mellers decided that her tiller extension was superfluous during the pre-start. Oxford Black had an unfortunate day, but showed their metal in beating Oxford White on the finish line of the final beat. Oxford White barely missed out on playoffs after coming 9th and a special mention must go to team captain Ali Bibby for the integrity she showed in what was a particularly difficult race committee hearing at the end of the day.

Oxford Blue however have qualified straight through to BUSA finals! We look forward to pressing on with that momentum at this weekend’s Top Gun. Our relatively young squad found the weekend provided some very valuable lessons with the overall event being very competitive. We are looking forward to our squad building on this in the future!

Our thanks go to the race committee, umpiring team and Wessex Sailing Club for organising a thoroughly enjoyable event.

Pre-BUSA events

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OUYC dinghy squad were busy the 27th/28th January, with all three teams making the most of the last weekend before BUSA qualifiers (watch this space….)

Wessex Winter Warmer 

A Blustery forecast left the team feeling concerned, however, at Spinnaker we were met with ideal breeze for both days albeit a bit shifty (even compared to Farmoor’s standards). With a clashing event in Warwick many of the other Uni teams were up north, instead we faced a barrage of alumni teams whose experience shone through. We certainly came away with some important lessons to take forward. Potentially the most thought provoking was the relationship between not having a hangover and team morale on day two! Oxford Blue is feeling race-ready to take on BUSA after competing in Wessex and refining our tactics in a racing environment.

We would like to thank Wessex Sailing Club for organising a fantastic event, the umpires and the race officer.

Warwick Turtle

The usually easy-going Saturday morning departure from Oxford was given a pinch of excitement when one of the twelve squad members we sent to the Warwick Turtle (Oxford Black and Oxford White) failed to show up at the agreed pick-up point on time.

After a feat of cardio prowess on behalf of Louis Manners, the absentee in question was retrieved and swiftly (but safely) driven to Drycote Water, where both of our teams kicked the day off with strong wins in heavy winds.

Oxford White – a formidable, if novel, ensemble of knowledge, experience, and talent – tacked and jibed their way to the Gold Fleet with ease, only to be sabotaged by untimely capsizes in Finals (in an arguably borderline-windy day).

Special mentions go to Ella Bennett for bravely (and very successfully) crewing for the first time – she has turned out to be as clear-sighted a crew as she is a fast helm; and to Tiarnan Finney (widely known as ‘TX’) for his management of in-race team communication – in the words of one of his teammates: “you follow TX’s calls almost blindly, he’s got it nine out of ten times”.

Oxford Back – an unlikely, if long-standing, assembly of turncoat yachties – saw their Sunday morning hopes dented by two races lost in succession, yet recuperated their morale later on the day and performed some textbook team-racing, only to frustratingly miss first Gold Fleet and then repechage by one point each.

Recognition goes to the herculean efforts of Josh Bell and Louis Manners to compress an unlikely race from positions 2 and 3, after his teammate (whom, in reference to his notoriously good first couple of races, had invited them to “join the party at the top of the fleet”) started off full of water and humbly cruised around the course in a big 6.

Overall a very exciting and fun weekend, our thanks to Warwick for running it.

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