Team Racing Report 2014
Andy McKeown and Shona Ross
Emily Robertson and Liane Cameron
Peter Collings and Muireann O’Regan
Angus McMillan and Elizabeth Jones
Anna Leerssen and Emily Smith
Scott McWhirter and Louis Sisk
Doros Voulgaridis and Natalie Fuller
Greg Southall and Caitlin Ross
Johnny Coyle and Emily Harrold
With so many of the teams that represented the club so well last year moving on to bigger, better and more Finnish things, this year was always going to be a transitionary period. In fact, out of the 24 people who sailed for the club last season, only 8 were available for selection this time around.
This year’s black team, doing what they do best. Photo credit: Andrew Grieve, album link: http://on.fb.me/1ohFfhS
Nevertheless, the two incoming captains had big plans for the year, and these started with the inaugural Glasgow Grouse. Two teams from the hosting club competed in the event, finishing 5th and 10th in the highly competitive 13 team field, and giving them valuable race experience for the upcoming league weekends.
Angus and Elizabeth sailing in Loch Ore. Photo credit: Andrew Grieve, album link: http://on.fb.me/1ohFfhS
All of the Scottish universities had been training hard since we had last raced them at the Scottish Team Racing Championships in Edinburgh, and the first league weekend hosted by Edinburgh in Loch Ore was a highly competitive affair. Edinburgh and Strathclyde were looking particularly strong, winning all of their races, while Glasgow Black struggled both with the standard of opposition, and the challenges of gelling as a new team, losing three races, and giving themselves an uphill battle in the quest to qualify for BUSA finals. Valuable lessons were learned though, such as the importance of being on the line on time, pointing in the right direction, and being in the right boat. The big success story of the weekend were Glasgow Yellow, nominally our third team, who, inspired by former commodore Johnny Coyle, sailed through the weekend with only one defeat, and sat third in the standings going into the second qualifier.
Formation sailing in Forfar. Photo credit Liane Fischler, album link http://on.fb.me/1moPDQh
While the first league weekend had been light, shifty, and more than a little frustrating, the second weekend, hosted by Dundee in Forfar, was anything but. We were greeted with a powerful 20-25 knot westerly, and racing was nothing if not interesting. After having the honour of the first capsize of the day (Peter and Moo), Glasgow quickly got to grips with the conditions. Glasgow Black winning all but one of their races, Red putting some wins on the board after a disappointing first weekend, and Yellow providing us with one of the finest comedy moments of the year, when Johnny was swept out into the loch by his runaway firefly.
Peter and Moo at SSS League 2 in Forfar. Photo credit Liane Fischler, album link http://on.fb.me/1moPDQh
This left us lying in 6th, 9th and 13th with one qualifier left to go. We felt we had momentum on our side, and were very capable of getting at least one team in the top four at the next event, qualifying us for BUSA finals.
Unfortunately, the Glasgow University exam schedule, Scotty’s knee, and Emily’s spleen had other ideas. Going into the third league weekend, we were down no fewer than five sailors, Louis and Moo due to exams, Shona due to flu, Scotty with a ruptured ACL, and Emily with a burst spleen. In spite of our reserves doing a fantastic job, it wasn’t quite enough, and at the end of the round robin, Black finished 7th, qualifying for BUSA Playoffs, Yellow were 8th, and Red were 13th.
Racing Edinburgh at BUSA playoffs. Photo credit: University of Birmingham SC, Album link: http://on.fb.me/1ohH9iH
Before playoffs, the ladies’ team of Emily R, Caitlin, Emma, Emily S, Lindsay, Elizabeth and reserve Emily H competed very successfully at BUSA Ladies’ nationals, doing the club proud both on and off the water, while the other sailors had a final training session before the trip south to Birmingham. It’s been a long time since a Scottish team had qualified through playoffs, at least a decade, so the plan was to head down with low expectations and enjoy the experience of racing against and learning from some top-quality English teams. However, after a strong start, it quickly became apparent that when our team was all together and on form, we were more than capable of beating any team at the event, finishing the first day in 3rd equal, having won 4 from 6 races, defeating both other Scottish teams along the way, as well as running the overnight leaders close all the way until the final beat.
The second day continued in much the same vein, albeit with considerably more wind. At the end of racing, we were left waiting in agonising suspense on the results of a redress hearing and tiebreak. It wasn’t until we were well on our way back north that the news finally came through, Glasgow University would be competing at BUSA finals!
Before this, the small matter of the Scottish Team Racing Championships in Aberdeen. After the disappointment of only fielding one team at last year’s event in Edinburgh, we were determined to put in a good showing this time around. Three full Glasgow teams eventually made the trip north, making us the best-represented university at the event, as well as a joint team with Queen’s University, a partnership we hope to keep going into the future.
Caitlin show us how it’s done at Stonehaven. Photo Credit: Harry Fraser, Album Link: http://on.fb.me/1pycc6N
Conditions in Stonehaven were challenging, to say the least. Strong, shifty winds with powerful gusts for most of the weekend made actually team racing a real test of the sailors’ skills. Glasgow Black, fielding a full-strength team for the first time since before Christmas, really began to show their potential, winning all their races until the final day, when they finally tasted defeat, in two close-run races against Edinburgh and eventual winners Strathclyde. This meant that Glasgow Black finished third, just one point away from overall victory. Glasgow Red finished 9th, and deserve special mention for succeeding where the Black team had failed, and defeating Edinburgh 1 in a very hard-fought race. Glasgow Yellow were 14th.
The final event of the year was the Hallam Hangover in Sheffield, to which we sent one team. Once again, this was a windy one, but in spite of that, and in spite of black flags, near capsizes, sideways hail, and some very dubious starting techniques, Glasgow once again finished third, behind the two Strathclyde teams who had also travelled down, a complete Scottish lock-out of the top three places showing what kind of standard we had been competing with all year.
The Glasgow Team at the Hallam Hangover. Photo Credit: Tony Mapplebeck, Album Link: http://on.fb.me/P9AYgH
So now all that’s left is BUSA finals. We’ve had a terrific year, on and off the water, Emily and I couldn’t be prouder of how our teams have sailed, we’ve competed in more events than ever before, travelled to England and held our own, and hopefully we’re going to turn a few heads in Strathclyde Park in a week’s time.
Until next year, Captains out.