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.


   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



Cambridge Blue Triumph at the 2016 Top Gun Trophy

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Cambridge University took the trophy after seeing off a strong challenge from Cardiff all weekend.
The Moet & Chandon Oxford University Invitational Trophy, the Top Gun, involved eight of the best University teams from around the country. Thanks to favourable conditions and great support from OUYC volunteers three full round robins were completed over the two days, with semi-finals and a nail biting four race final to finish.

Results were incredibly close after two round robins on the first day, with both Cambridge Blue and Cardiff tied on 11 out of 14 wins, then four chasing teams within two wins of one another. A strong Sunday for Cambridge saw them pull ahead in time for the semis, with Cardiff Exeter and Loughborough completing the line-up.
The Saturday evening saw the OUYC annual dinner, held this year at the Cherwell Boathouse. The event was a great success and it was lovely to bring together both sides of the club along with many old members and other University teams.
OUYC would like to thank all the Umpires and on the water helpers whose dedication and hard work allowed the three rounds to get finished in time for a full set of semis and finals.

Oxford Blue Win BUCS/BUSA Qualifiers

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BUCS/BUSA Team Racing Qualifiers were held in four regions of the UK over the weekend of 6/7th March. Oxford Blue dominated the South Central BUCS/BUSA Team Racing Qualifiers at Spinnaker Sailing Club, scoring 11 wins in 12 races to take first place.

The weekend saw rough sailing conditions as Storm Imogen approached the Southern UK, with postponements and breakages across the board and racing cancelled altogether at the Western Qualifiers. Despite gusty winds that occasionally reached 50 knots on Saturday, the race committee at Spinnaker decided to go ahead with racing in storm sails and managed an impressive number of starts on the first day of racing. Oxford maintained a clean sheet throughout the day, together with a Southampton team and a Surrey team who also performed well in strong winds. Conditions were gentler on Sunday morning, allowing each team to sail 12 races overall at the event. Oxford Blue cemented their victory on Sunday, losing only their final race against Southampton Solent Black.

The final score left Oxford Blue in first place after beating Southampton Blue on the water, although both scored 11/12 wins and average points of 8.00. Southampton Black finished in 3rd place with 10/12 wins and average points of 8.08.

The Oxford Green and Yellow teams were less fortunate in the face of tough draws and challenging conditions, ultimately missing out on qualifying for the Finals. Nevertheless, both teams look forward to a busy season of team racing and successful BUSA campaigns in future years.

OUYC at the Student Yachting World Cup

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12107111_927340157346267_8568239032670884906_nIn October the OUYC yacht race squad competed in the Student Yachting World Cup. The event was attended by several countries from around the world. The team placed 8th overall and had a fantastic time whilst in La Baule. The event comprised of 5 day’s of racing and a bustling social scene. The full report can be found here

Oxford Blue take on top teams at one-day event

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Sam Jenkins writes,

Oxford Blue ventured south to Bough Beech on 28th November to join one in a series of one-day events, the brainchild of Oxford alumni John Platts-Mills and Phil Derry.

Attracting a selection of the top club/graduate-level teams in the country, the competition couldn’t really have been much higher. Indeed the only two university teams were Oxford and Cambridge (2nd and 1st at BUSA last year). Any race wins over the day would be commendable! Still, the Oxford sailors were able to secure wins against the (somewhat weakened) West Kirby Hawks, Royal Yacht Squadron, and others.

Conditions were pretty perfect for most of the day, with a dreamy 12-16 knots puffing down the lake for most of the day. This allowed a full day of really close, exciting racing with teams taking it in turns to umpire and run the start/finish boats.

More than anything we were incredibly impressed by the efficiency of the event format, each team managing to sail 12 races in one day which, in the depths of winter, was fab! OUYC are looking to introduce aspects of this format for their upcoming Top Gun invitational event.

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

Oxford and Cambridge Sailing Society triumph at the Oxford Magnum for the second year in a row.

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Events Secretary Alistair Macaulay writes:

The Oxford Magnum returned to Farmoor reservoir on the weekend of the 31st October and 1st November. Light winds persisted throughout the weekend, but the race officer and their team of helpers made the most of the wind they did have to get 70 races completed on the Saturday. A further 24 races were completed on the Sunday before the wind dropped too far for the racing to be fair. Teams had been split into Gold, Silver and Bronze leagues for the Sunday racing, and unfortunately the premature end to that day’s racing meant that the results from those leagues could not be counted towards the final event results, so the event results remained as those from the end of Saturday’s racing. All teams had at least 6 races counting towards the final results, and all took part in at least 2 races on the Sunday.

At the end of Saturday both Society and Royal Thames Red were undefeated, with Royal Thames Blue and Cambridge Blue close behind on 7 out of 8 and 6 out of 7 race wins respectively. The first race of Sunday had Society and Royal Thames Red facing off against each other; even with an incomplete Sunday schedule that race could count to separate the two top teams. Society came away with a convincing win to lift the first prize – a magnum of champagne of course! Royal Thames Blue had in fact beaten Society in the racing on Sunday, so with a little more wind the results could have been very different at the top. We would like to thank the umpire team lead by Chief Umpire Bruce Hebbert and Race Officer Jo Lucas for working so hard to run as much high quality racing as possible despite the weather’s best efforts! We would also like to thank Keith Sammons for setting up the website on which all results and schedules were posted and updated throughout the weekend (see and Moët and Chandon for sponsoring the prizes.

Calms Beset Generations Event

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By Anthony Butler

Calms greatly restricted sailing at the 27th Generations Event held at Farmoor on Saturday 3rd October 2015. With one team of the 11 competing not getting on the water at all, no result could be declared when racing was stopped at around 2pm. The rest of the day was spent in watching the World Cup rugby, and some 65 people attended the most convivial and enjoyable dinner that evening at Kellogg College in Oxford.

Participating Teams: Joint1960s; Oxf70s; Camb70s; Oxf90s; Camb90s; Oxf00s (Mini); Oxf00s (Cooper); Oxf10s; Camb10s; Oxf Current; and Camb Current.

Read the full article on the OCSS website.

Oxford Blue take Cam Cup in stormy conditions

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Oxford Blue and Green enjoyed a great weekend in Cambridge, with close racing, a spectacular dinner and (most importantly) plenty of Tab-shoeing!

The victorious Oxford Blue finally get their hands on the Cam Cup

OUYC Captain of Sailing Ed Scallan writes:

The Cam Cup this year saw both Oxford Blue and Green competing, with Blue hoping to go one further after finishing runners up for the two previous years. Racing got underway early on Saturday morning at Grafham Sailing Club in full rigs with shifty conditions. Gusts were frequent, and occasionally strong enough to hint at the need for storm sails later in the weekend.

Blue continued their recent good form of winning the Top Gun the previous weekend, rapidly progressing to 6 wins from 6. Then came crunch match against Cambridge Blue, the only other team on 100% wins. Quick conversions on the first beat along with text book pair balancing saw Oxford with a 1-2 at mark 1. Strong race management saw the race finishing as 1-2-6. Durham 1 and RTYC Red were still close behind on the overall results having just dropped 1 race each; a loss to either team would open the doors for a tiebreak to decide the round robin. Oxford Blue’s final 3 races of the day were against Royal Thames, Durham and SSCM: after some close starts, the team held their nerve negotiated the final 3 races to remain undefeated after 12 races and finish Saturday in 1st position.

Oxford Green (comprised mostly of Freshers) held their own against strong teams, producing some exciting racing and gaining good experience for BUSA Finals in a month’s time. The team were unfortunate to just get 3 wins for their efforts throughout the day, but gave several much more experienced teams a good scare, the highlight was giving Josh Flack spins.


The evening saw pre-dinner drinks at the Hawks Club before heading to the Cambridge City Hotel for CUCrC’s annual dinner for a very enjoyable evening. Sunday morning at Grafham was met with strong winds and an ominous forecast. Racing was started with cut-downs, but only 3 races were able to be completed before gale force winds took hold of the reservoir. Results were declared from the (almost finished) round robin, with Oxford Blue being crowned winners of the CamCup!


Huge thanks goes to Cambridge, all the helpers, the race office and the umpires for organising a well polished event.

Oxford Blue triumph at Top Gun Trophy

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A hard-fought battle between Oxford, Cambridge and Durham Universities saw Oxford Blue edge victory in a thrilling weekend of racing at Farmoor Reservoir
The Oxford University Invitational Trophy, the Top Gun, involved eight of the best University teams from around the country. Thanks to the first rate management of OUYC’s Meli Besse three full round robins were completed over the two days, the third round managed to finish just as some of the biggest squalls most of the competitors had ever seen at Farmoor swept across the lake.

The results were remarkably close given that each team completed 21 races. Oxford Blue were first, pipping Cambridge blue to the post by half a race win, Durham were third. The Saturday evening saw the OUYC annual dinner, held this year at St Hilda’s College. The event was a great success and it was lovely to bring together both sides of the club along with many old members and other University teams.


OUYC would like to thank all the Umpires whose dedication, and lack of lunch break, allowed the three rounds to get finished before the worst of the weather hit. It was a particularly cold weekend and everyone on the water running the racing did a brilliant job!