From 2nd-4th April, the BUSA 2024 finals were once again hosted at our very own Grafham Water. Many thanks to the volunteers who made this possible, especially recent alumni Callum Farnden and Jamie Webb!

With bosuning perfected minutes before launching and Grafham providing its usual sun and wind, racing got started with 28 teams in 5 of the best flights in the country. As determined by the draw, and keeping to tradition, Blue and Purple’s first race was each other, with Blue victorious in the end. The Swiss league led to engaging racing for all, racing more difficult teams if you win, and lower-ranked teams if you lose.

Racing progressed rapidly, with 166 races before heavy winds ended day 2 early. Going into the final day, Blue were ranked 1st overall, and Purple were in contention for the tie-break into the top 8. Purple sailed well, but facing challenging opponents and some unfortunate umpire calls they ranked 20th overall. They ranked above several impressive teams, with their victory over Oxford Blue bringing them significant joy and a promising sign ahead of Varsity.

Entering knockouts, Blue won the tie-break for 1st and defeated Imperial Blue 2-0 in their quarter final. The semi-final brought challenge, facing Strathclyde Pink who beat Blue in the Swiss league. Strath claimed the first race, Blue the second. In the third race, a comfortable 1-4-5 got sketchy when Robbie pulled a move at mark 3 that puzzled his teammates and spectators alike. Entering the final beat in a 1-4-6, Gordon and Lizzie watched in terror as Tim aided the situation by getting spins for a dial and becoming 6. Robbie and Luke put well-trained boat handling to use to happily return to a winning combination, further simplified by a Strath boat receiving a red flag at the finish, putting Blue in a 1-3-4 win. For legal reasons, Gordon does not want to comment on what he would have done to the rest of his team (save his wonderful crew) if Blue had lost.

Adrenaline racing, they progressed to the final against Exeter Blue, recent champions of UKTRA, who had won their semi-final against Loughborough Purple. The first race was incredibly close, with neither team sure of who won, but the finish boat confirmed Tim and Hannah had clinched position 3, winning the race with Robbie and Luke in 1. Training continued to pay off, with Blue winning the second race in a 2-3-5 and the third 1-3-4, finishing the finals 3-0 (overall results here). Celebrations notably included Gordon and Lizzie capsizing post-finish, and later Gordon discovering champagne for the first time.

Thanks to all teams for excellent racing throughout and hope all enjoyed BUSA dinner, with a reception in the beautiful St Catharine’s College.

Teams were, in their helm-crew pairings:

Cambridge Blue: Robbie McDonald and Lucius Bligh (C), Gordon Cogan-Sivarajan and Elizabeth Linsdell, Tim Hire and Hannah Cox

Cambridge Purple: Magnus Handley (C) and Lisanne Blok, Charlie Merryweather and Jenny Jiang, Ellen Morley and Sam Dernie

Cambridge Blue, BUSA 2024 team racing champions
Cambridge Blue (again) – BUSA 2024 champions
Cambridge Purple at the BUSA 2024 dinner in St Catherine’s College

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