After the unprecedented success of SSS2 in Dundee, everyone was buzzing for a good sail in Lochore at SSS3. With new aims set for the upcoming Leagues and all the momentum from Dundee, we convened in the Beer Bar to set off for Edinburgh early on the Friday evening.
As soon as we arrived, with our teams split into two groups according to whether they'd be returning to Glasgow for the GUSA Ball on Saturday night, we met our hosts, joined forces in the flat nearest to our destination and departed typically late for our first night out in Silk. Much fun was had and many SUSA games were played between the ecstatic sailors still fresh from a whole 5 days of not sailing...
Saturday had barely dawned when we got up searching the mess that was our belongings for what we needed for our first day in Lochore. Arriving, we found the loch significantly less breezy than expected but still certainly sailable. With the phrase "Team Processes" still ringing in our ears from our last training session with Ali Mo, we got changed and rigged our boats with very specific targets in mind.
Supergold League was first on with teams Yellow and - after last weekend's successful playoff - Blue sailing against the two Edinburgh teams in the League. Glasgow Yellow began the league with a fascinating race involving an epic 10-tack battle where Ally and Emily managed to roll their way ahead of the boat that was attempting to cover them, and despite Emily and Rachel having to do an impressive 4 spins, team Yellow managed a 1-2 victory against their main rivals for the top of the League, Edinburgh Blue.
For Glasgow Blue the pressure was on. They might have had all the momentum from the previous weekend's 7 wins out of 8 races but this was the crucial one. Edinburgh White were currently in 4th place with one Supergold point and holding the last ticket for direct qualification to BUSA Finals. With the first three teams having proved their dominance multiple times, overtaking that team was the only hope for Blues to achieve their goal of making BUSA Finals. With constantly shifting wind conditions and a rather chaotic start, Blues managed to secure a 1-2-4, gaining their first Supergold point and now sharing fourth place with Edinburgh.
Next up were Glasgow Pink, newly in Gold League, after a particularly memorable encounter with Aberdeen White the weekend before (where Duncan truly ‘Hooled’ it). After a couple of close defeats they were forced to abandon their ambitions to achieve 7th place to qualify for BUSA Playoffs, yet still managed to challenge the teams on the top of the league, finishing their run the second League with an impressive win against Edinburgh Green, who had started the Leagues stage in Supergold.
Finally, it was Beige's turn. Competing in Silver, with the unfortunate lack of a helm, Emily, who had to stay in Glasgow due to a nasty cold, they were forced to sail the event with alternating helms from other teams. This didn't stop them, however, from winning 7 out of their 8 races in the two Leagues to follow, and finish first in Silver League-the top league in which they were allowed to compete as an unofficial team.
Back in Supergold, team Yellow managed to win all their races from the first League and stayed in first place, while both Glasgow Blue and Edinburgh White lost all their races against the top three teams, staying on one Supergold point each. The second League ended up with a messy triple tie between the top three teams, leaving Glasgow Yellow with their one-Supergold-point lead ahead of Edinburgh Blue. For Glasgow Blue things turned out similarly to the first League: despite having two boats over the line after the start of their race against Edinburgh White, they managed to amend the situation and sail fast to a 1-4-6 after the first mark. With Shona and Greg hitting back on the Edinburgh boats on 2 and 3 and Doros and Ula in hot pursuit, they managed to fight their way into a 1-2 by the 3rd mark and maintain it until the finish line. After the end of the League, neither of the two teams managed to gain any points against the top three so now Glasgow were clear ahead in fourth place.
The day ended with the completion of the second League and the GUSA Ball people rushing to get back to Glasgow on time for the fabled event.
The remaining 9 sailors drove back to Edinburgh to cook fajitas for their host and prepare for a second night out in the legendary Hive.Openly interpreting the second night's theme, "Epochs", Glasgow grabbed their light sabers and dressed up as Star Wars characters and joined the other Unis for a second wild night out, ending with an adventurous 45 min walk home past chip shops, through muddy parks and taking what was probably the longest possible route back.
Star wars: definitely an epoch
The rise on Sunday morning was rough but we left our hosts flat shining and arrived in Lochore well on time. Yet this time we found the leeward shore under constant wave battering and the wind looking rather prohibitive for sailing. During the 3 hours of waiting for some lull that would allow us to commence a new League, the strong breeze turned into a proper storm and even the sailors from Edinburgh White and Strathclyde Red - desperately seeking a chance to win Supergold races and fight for the fourth position - gave up all hope. With a unanimous agreement between the teams, racing was officially canned, boats were packed up despite the cold and we were at last free to return home for a much deserved rest.
For the first time in at least 5 years Glasgow have managed to send two teams straight to BUSA Finals with team Pink finishing in a strong 9th closely followed by Beige in 13th. Captains are complaining that their job is becoming very difficult as “…we’re waist-deep in optimism!”.