On the 27th of January, Cambridge Blue had a luxurious 4:30 am wakeup, ready to drive to Spinnaker Sailing Club to compete in the 2024 Wessex Winter Warmer. After a long 3 hour sleep in the car for most members of the team, we arrived at Spinnaker to find a stereotypical lack of wind. This allowed us all to get another few hours sleep in the carpark. Luckily, racing was only postponed for a few hours, By 10:30 the wind had filled in and we were able to start racing. The strong entry list comprised of mainly alumni teams, so we were prepared for a tough weekend of racing. This prediction was correct, and Blue enjoyed very close racing with some of the best teams in the country on Saturday. This would leave us with a fair amount of work to do on Sunday. Racing finished on Saturday after 88 races. Considering the late start this was a very impressive feat from Keith and Jo Sammons. Due to the good forecast for Sunday, the plan was to continue with the HLS for a few more races before moving into leagues and eventually knockouts.
The traditional Warmer social at Manzil’s, then Clowns, then Jesters, a first for many of Blue, was well attended. After a very wholesome evening of airborne curry and cocktails, the team retired ready to take on the competition on Sunday.
After another early start on Sunday, we regrouped at Spinnaker ready to take on the day. The tough, light conditions on Saturday had left our progression into Silver league in the balance. We made best use of the remaining 4 races in the round-robin, and finished Stage 1 in a fairly comfortable 11th place. Though closer to bronze than we had hoped, we were pleased with our position. We were ready for some hard racing against the best university teams and a few alumni teams. This included most of BUSA winning Cambridge Blue from 2022/2023. Luckily, we had used the social to recover from our far-too-early wakeup on Saturday. Now in the best team racing mindset, we proceeded to storm through Silver League, only losing two of our 7 races, putting us both at the top of the rankings, and through to the semi-finals as the Silver Surfer position.
Unfortunately, the Silver Surfer races the top ranked team from Gold Fleet. So, after about 5 minutes of mental preparation, we took to the water to take on Royal Thames Yacht Club White. The first race went our way, after some great work at the start and a extremely effective mark trap at mark 2, we finished the first race of the Semi in a happy 1,2. The next two races saw RTYC White return to form, and despite our best efforts we returned to shore having lost the Semi Final 2-1. After watching a very intense set of races in the final, eventually leading to another Cambridge alumni team, the Cumberland Sausages, winning the event, we started the long journey back home.
As Blue’s second event of the year, and first of the Lent term, we are very happy with the result. We are looking forward to the next few weeks, with BUCS/BUSA Qualifiers on the 3/4th February and the Oxford Top Gun on the 10/11th. Many thanks to Southampton Uni for hosting a great event, Keith and Jo Sammons for running it so efficiently, RTYC White for a great Semi Final, and congratulations to the Cumberland Sausages for taking the overall win.
Scroll down to see some great photos of the event!
The team consisted of: Robbie McDonald (Helm) and Lucius Bligh (Crew, VC Team Racing and Captain), Tim Hire (Helm) and Hannah Cox (Crew), Gordon Cogan-Sivarajan (Helm) and Lizzie Lindsell (Crew)