(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:


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:


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/)


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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.


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.


   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!


Women’s Open Keelboat Championship 2016

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In early June, Lulu Wallis (Bow), Meli Besse (Trim), Penny Weiser (Helm) and Alison Hinds (Main Trim), competed in WOKC 2016 hosted by the Hamble River Sailing Club. The team competed in a J/80 called Swallow owned by the Royal Southern Yacht Club Academy.


Meli, Ali, Penny, Abby and Lulu (left to right)

The weekend started with welcome drinks at the club where Abby Ehler gave an inspiring presentation on her experiences of The Volvo Ocean Race 2015 as part of Team SCA. We were extremely lucky to have Abby come on board with us on Saturday for a day of coaching, which was incredibly helpful and gave us a confidence boost for Sunday.

We arrived at the boat in good time on Saturday morning to get an hour of practice in before racing, but predictably our outboard was playing up and so with only 30 minutes to go, we set off out of Hamble river to the start area near Jonathan Janeson.

26908049964_c945e36803_oThe race started with a shifty northerly around 6 knots and a strengthening west going tide. The course was a clockwise windward leeward with a short spreader leg. We made it round the first lap with no trouble, but as we rounded the spreader mark for the second time the breeze began to drop off. Half way down the run to the finish we were becalmed and left fighting the tide with our drooping kite. J’ronimo (J/92) had crossed the line just before the wind died and so with the clock ticking, we sat silent and prayed for a last minute puff but unfortunately, the time limit was called. The race committee, seeing that only 1 of 8 boats had finished made a sensible suggestion to use the times taken at the first mark to place everyone. A couple of boats called for redress and later that evening, after a protest hearing involving all the class 2 yachts, a decision was made to score everyone OTL with 5.5 points.
We drifted around the start area interrogating Abby about The Volvo Ocean Race while we waited for some wind.

Once the breeze began to fill in the second race was started, inevitably it died again, this time at the top mark. The whole fleet compressed and the Clas26908199834_348fff7db6_os 1 boats came roaring in from behind. As the breeze came back Meli got the kite flying first allowing us to fly past most of the fleet, to finish in 3rd, only 1s behind Two Frank in 2nd.

For the third and last race of the day, the wind came up to around 10 knots from the SW. We flew around the track, finishing in 4th, again only seconds in it.

Grins all round, we set off to get ready for the ‘frocks and flip-flops party’ on Saturday evening, unfortunately Abby couldn’t join us as she had to catch a flight to Chicago and see her mate Ben. Hamble River Sailing Club put on a great hog roast and the Dark ‘nd Stormies were flowing. Then came the most exciting part of the regatta; the raffle (all proceeds donated to beating breast cancer). The room was decorated with Spinlock deck vests, winch handles, tablets and many more generous donations, however, green 72 was not a winning ticket. So, full of food and booze we wandered back to Hotel Jimbo, Jon and Ed. I highly recommend it, they have a colossal rum collection and they’re fantastic hosts (thanks again boys!) 5 stars.

Sunday morning was gorgeous, the sun was shining and there was just yandy147950a tickle of breeze. We crossed the line with clear air and decided to follow the breeze up the right hand side of the course. We over stood the top mark, so we sailed fast and rounded just after the leaders. Rounding to port we hoisted and jibed early to stay with the breeze. The run to the finish turned into a tight reach as the wind swung to the South, we just managed to hold the kite and we crossed the line in 2nd shortly after Blackjack II (J/97). The wind then died again, leaving the rest of the fleet floating against the tide to the finish. A couple were called OTL.

We had a lovely long lunch in the sun while the committee searched for wind. Luckily a sea breeze filled in and race 5 got underway. The wind was very patchy and so Penny stalked it up track and we rounded the top mark in first. The next lap was frustrating as the wind became lighter and shiftier but another success as we came 2nd, again following Blackjack II.

We were delighted to find out at the prize giving that we were 3rd in class and 3rd overall.

A great weekend, that I would highly commend. Two days of top quality racing and a lot of fun.


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.