Student match racing kick off

Unis draw up their battlelines for Rutland Water contest

Wednesday April 2nd 2003, Author: Sasha Oswald, Location: United Kingdom
The weekend of the 5/6 April seems to be the weekend of boat races. Just as Oxford and Cambridge go head to head in the 2003 Boat Race, they will also be lining up against each other in a sailing boat race at Rutland Water Sailing Club.

Eighteen teams have entered the ISAF Grade 4 BUSA National Match Racing Finals, which is part of the RYA National Match Racing Series 2003, competing from Universities all around the country including Oxford, Cambridge, Loughborough, Southampton and Bristol.

The competition looks set to be tough with a number of familiar faces in the line up. Bristol University return this year to try and defend their title, skipper Ed Hill, who has just been selected for the all-new Volvo RYA Keelboat Team, has the challenge of returning the trophy back to Bristol. He will be up against the likes of last year's runner up, Alex Cherry from Exeter, and experienced match racers Paul Campbell-James and John Greenland sailing for Southampton University.

Cambridge and Oxford University have also entered teams and no doubt will be looking to beat their rival scholars both in the rowing and sailing. Ali Hall heads up the Oxford team and James Reid the Cambridge.

Racing takes place in the RYA's fleet of Beneteau First Class Eights, competing in round robins on the Saturday in three groups, where each team (which will comprise of four or five team members, depending on weight) will sail every other team once. The two highest placed skippers from each group round robin will qualify for the semi-finals on the Sunday, where again each skipper will sail against each other once. The top two will then compete in a best of three race final to determine the winner, with sail-offs for 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th places.

The winning team and runner up will win a place in the RYA National Match Racing Finals which take place from the 26-28 September at the Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy.

RYA Racing Services Manager David Atkinson commented, "It is great to see an increased entry level, with a waiting list for the event which is the first time ever. It reflects the depth and breadth of keelboat racing within the University scene."

BUSA National Match Racing Championships line-up:

Alex Cherry (Exeter University)
Ali Hall (Oxford University)
Andrew Hadfield (Sheffied Hallum University)
Andy Bryson (Loughborough University)
Andy Cornah (Southampton University 3)
Anthony Harvey (Bath University)
Ed Hill (Bristol University)
Edward Mockeridge (Warwick University 2)
Helen Wightman (Bristol University Ladies)
Jamie Reid (Cambridge University)
John Greenland (Southampton University 2)
Luke Harwood (University East Anglia)
Mark Addison (Newcastle University)
Mark Lees (University of London)
Paul Campbell-James (Southampton University 1)
Peter Ellis (Plymouth University)
Phil Kennard (Warwick University 1)
TBA (Brunel University)

For further information on the RYA National Match Racing Series 2003 and details of how to qualify for the RYA National Match Racing Finals, click here

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