Varsity Match - on the water

Oxford v Cambridge showdown... in Hunter 707s

Friday July 5th 2002, Author: Howard Morris, Location: United Kingdom

This year's sailing Varsity match was hosted for the first time by the Royal Southern Yacht Club in Hunter 707s.

The event was split into a ladies only team and the main Open event with mixed team members. Three 707s per team were used for the Open Team racing event and two per team for the ladies-only team event. The extremely competitive racing was supervised under the watchful eyes of internationally well-known umpire Bruce Hibbert, and Warsash's Philip Gage.

Apart from the excellent faultless service provided by the race officer Colin Hall, ably assisted by the other members of the race committee, the on-shore activities and catering went down a treat with the University student competitors.

It was the unfortunate acceptance of a bet in the early hours following the first day of racing by yours truly which led to an extra event on the second day- The 707 owners v. Cambridge match race. By the time the owners (Andrew Aldwinckle, Tom Davidson, Paul Curtis, Howard Morris and the 707 Secretary Maggie Widdop) agreed who was doing what, the Cambridge team were ahead by the start gun! Despite every attempt to use local knowledge and detailed experience of the vagaries of sailing a 707, the Cambridge team won by 2 boat lengths.

The final results; the Oxford Ladies beat the Cambridge Ladies rather convincingly - 4:0. The Open event was very well contested and was won in some very close racing by Cambridge, 4:2.

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