Over the recent summer, Cambridge sailors travelled to the American Great Lakes to compete in two 2019 USA match racing events. Students Jamie Webb and Alex Smallwood, with recent alumni James Pinder and George Hopes, sailed in the Chicago Grade 2 event and the Detroit Cup. Alex and Jamie report:
CUCrC will host the BUSA 2020 Team Racing Finals on 13-15 April 2020 at Grafham Water SC, near Cambridge! The 28 best university teams will compete at BUSA 2020, the highlight of the student dinghy team racing season.
The 2019 Loughborough Lemming, held at Burton Sailing Club, began relatively slowly for Cambridge Green. The first day of sailing was canned due to thick fog, and illness meant that only five members of the team could attend. On the Sunday we redeemed ourselves! Danny O'Toole, helming at his first ever team racing event, sailed with crew Megan Redhead. Sam Martin helmed very well with a casual sailor from Loughborough. Ollie Dennis and Bella Biddle were able to get some good experience at the pin, winning several starts over the course of the weekend. Together the team were able to pull off some impressive conversions against strong competition, demonstrating the team racing skills they had picked up in training. Overall we finished the 2019 Loughborough Lemming in 11th of 20 teams ranked by points.
The lake was mirror flat as we arrived at Bartley Reservoir for the 2019 Brummy Boom (previously known as the Brummie Bender). But with the wind forecast to pick up to 2 knots gusting 4, the two Cambridge teams were in good spirits. I was trying to think back to the last time I had done a light wind roll tack at Grafham. We had a quick sweepstake on the timing of the first race. The prize: popping the cork off the Aldi methuselah we had acquired for the evening. We were all way off the money, the first start signal was at 12:30, it was 1:30 before the first changeover. Nevertheless each team got a couple of races in on the first day. Cambridge Men came away with 2 wins from 2 races. Cambridge Beige had lost out in a close race and was on 1 win from 2.
Three Cambridge boats took part in the RS200 inlands, which conveniently took place on 6-7 October 2019 at Grafham Water SC. The fleet competed 5 races over the two days because of weather. At lunchtime on Sunday the arrival of Hurricane Lorenzo led to gusts of 29 knots and the cancellation of the 6th race.
Cambridge sailors achieved considerable success on the 2019 match racing circuit, which has become a major add-on to the CUCrC sailing calendar. In the summer sailors travelled far and wide to compete. In addition, match racing has been re-established at the annual Varsity Match. As well as a complete success at the Varsity Match, some 15 current Cambridge sailors and recent graduates went to 5 events over the summer, collecting a bunch of podiums along the way.
A Cambridge University team of 10 sailors competed in the West Lancs 24 hour race at West Lancashire YC, Southport on 14-15 September 2019. They improved on their 2018 result by finishing 21st overall and 2nd Firefly. They also picked up the trophy for Top University (out of 9 universities entered), finishing 2 minutes ahead of Bangor University. The team suffered 3 capsizes overnight and a 5-minute penalty taken by mistake, allowing Bangor to be much closer than would have otherwise been the case.
An all-Cambridge team competed at the Darwin Escapes 2019 J70 Worlds held in September on the waters of Torbay in Devon. Skipper Fiona Hampshire reports:
Cambridge narrowly lost to rivals Oxford to come 2nd in the 2019 Ladies Team Racing Nationals, held at Spinnaker SC on 23-24 March 2019.
Cambridge Blue were victorious in the Cam Cup 2019 team racing held at Grafham on 23/24 February 2019. So a Cambridge student team appears again on the winners list after an interval of 20 years. A Cambridge student team won the first event in 1999.