Victory to Southampton Solent
Organised by British Universities’ Sailing Association (BUSA), in conjunction with the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), twelve teams, representing Bristol, Cambridge, Durham (2), Exeter, Imperial, Newcastle, Plymouth (2), Portsmouth, Southampton and Southampton Solent, raced for four days on Portland Harbour at Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy in the RYAs fleet of Elliott 6m yachts.
Nigel Vick reports from his umpire’s RIB:
We had a full (first) day of racing, albeit most of the day without spinnakers. 10 flights were completed, so, with 12 entries, we completed two separate leagues of 6 each. Tomorrow, we will continue until everyone has sailed everyone else’. Plymouth 1 (Dan Wray) and Bristol (Nick Wilkinson) ended the day on 5 wins, with Southampton Solent (Philip Bendon) & Exeter (Jason Saints) on 4 wins.
On day 2, 19 out of the 22 flights were completed, comprising the Round Robin. The wind was a little less, and spinnakers could be used. It was close at the top, with Plymouth 1 and Bristol on 8 wins. Positions 8-12 were to be decided in league. but there would be playoffs to 12th.
Day 3 consisted of the completion of the Round Robin and the Quarter Finals, plus the 9th -12th place playoff. The first set of the Quarter Finals saw both Bristol and Plymouth 1 go through, each with two straight wins, whilst the second set required a deciding third match. Southampton Solent and Portsmouth (Tim Carter) emerged the winners from these. In the 9th -12th playoffs, Southampton (Tom Harrison) won 3 matches to finish in 9th place, whilst Imperial (Nick Lake), Durham 2 (Tom Quigley) and Newcastle (Sean Whelan) each had a single win, but finished in that order on tie breaks.
Day 4 saw the conclusion of the Championship and the first eight places.
BUSA Match Racing Champions 2013 are Southampton Solent University (Philip Bendon helming, with Bruno Van Dyke & Chris Tiernan).
Despite going two down in the first to 3 points final, Philip raised his game to overcome an OCS in Match 3, setting up a thrilling deciding fifth race. In this Solent took Plymouth 1 high above the start line. Plymouth tried getting the kite up and, had it set, it could have been a different story - as it was Solent led off the line. However, a failure to cover in the light breeze, let Plymouth through on the second beat. But, again, a poor spinnaker host cost the Plymouth team (Dan Wray, Mathew Haslam, Jack Kilburn), and it was Solent first and Plymouth second at the finish.
In the 3rd/4th playoff, Portsmouth (Tim Carter, Fergus Barnham, James Vineer) also went two down and were sailing home, thinking it was first to two. Having been brought back to the course, Portsmouth then went on to win the next three matches against Bristol (Nick Wilkinson, Phil Sparks, Oliver Nainby-Luxmore), finishing in third place, with Bristol fourth.
A 5th – 8th sudden death playoff took place seeing Durham 1 and Exeter progressing to a 5th/6th playoff. This left Cambridge and Plymouth 2, having both lost a match, to be placed by reference back to the Round Robin as 7th and 8th respectively.
The 5th/6th playoff between Exeter (Jason Saints, Thomas Brophy, Alice Butler) and Durham (Ed Harrison, Konrad Weaver, Ed Thomas) was first to three and needed all three matches. Exeter took first blood, but Durham came back, taking both of the remaining matches and finishing 5th, with Exeter 6th.
Race Officer, Richard Kingsnorth summed up the Championship: “Conditions started off being quite marginal. Frustratingly for those who could handle the conditions, I reduced the sail configuration to white sails only (no kytes) after the first flight of the first day, but at least we avoided breakages. The second day gave us about 5 knots less wind, which was repeated on the Wednesday, and on Thursday we were slightly concerned that we might run out altogether. From my point of view, it was an excellent event, and the feedback I received from competitors was unanimous that the format (4 days) and venue (Portland) was a big improvement on previous years. All teams showed great improvement over the course of the week and, in the end, all went home with at least one win!!!”
This was one of the coldest events many had competed in, or officiated at, but all left with the satisfaction at having participated in an excellent Match Racing Championship.
1 Southampton Solent (Philip Bendon, Bruno Van Dyke, Chris Tiernan)
2 Plymouth 1 (Dan Wray, Mathew Haslam, Jack Kilburn)
3 Portsmouth (Tim Carter, Fergus Barnham, James Vineer)
4 Bristol (Nick Wilkinson, Phil Sparks, Oliver Nainby-Luxmore)
5 Durham 1 (Ed Harrison, Konrad Weaver, Ed Thomas)
6 Exeter (Jason Saints, Thomas Brophy, Alice Butler)
7 Cambridge (Jack Davies, Matt Deacon-Smith, Honor Fell)
8 Plymouth 2 (Andrew Sinclair, Joe Cross, Dom Silman)
9 Southampton (Tom Harrison, Conrad Manning, Jonty Cook)
10 Imperial (Nicholas Lake, Josh Simcock, Maciej Adler)
11 Durham 2 (Tom Quigley, James Cunnison, Ian Cook)
12 Newcastle (Sean Whelan, Francesca Tagliaferri, Harry Frith)