Windsurfing Feature

Windsurfers in action

Winding back to BUCS Windsurfing Championship

With the majority of our performance sports in their off season, many of our Sailing and Windsurfing Sports Scholars are in their main competition phase over the summer. Sports Scholar James Hatcher who is part of the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) pathway reflects on results from the BUCS Windsurfing event.

“The format of BUCS shakes things up, having to race on borrowed kit from the windriders lock-up, as the Olympic race kit is banned. Fortunately the weather forecast was light breeze, which meant students from other Universities who brought their high performance set-ups couldn’t extend big leads just from their kit.

Day 1 was for fleet racing, with the advanced fleet competing for the BUCS Championship. On the first race there was some confusion on the start with the system displaying the time until the go, which was removed in a rush to try and keep to schedule and avoid a reset. Most of the competitors missed it, but I and another medal contender from Bristol University unfortunately picked up on it, and our view was obstructed for the correction. With our watches set to the original starting signal, we both started with 1 minute left on the clock and were subsequently disqualified from race 1 of 4.

With a DSQ on the board, the next two races were a tough fight to try and re-establish a place within the medals, with lots of positions being traded both in the races and the overall scoreline. A pushing tide, lots of competitors and light winds made strategy on the starts tricky. Trying to balance all of these to get a start at the front of the pack meant risking another disqualification if anything went wrong, taking away the chance of a podium finish. It all went to plan this time however and I managed to come out of the next two races with consecutive first places.

The final race of the day shaped up to be the decider, as I still needed a very solid performance for first place overall. I had the lead at the end of the first leg, but was closely followed by several others. After a fight to the finish line, I managed to cross in first place to take the win overall.

In the beginner and intermediate fleets we were very well represented on the women’s side. Saffron Hill putting in a good series to win the beginner silver medal and Emma Hattersley worked hard to ultimately bring back an intermediate gold.

Day 2 was the start of the team racing, with all the Universities getting together their best competitors for the start of the heats. From Exeter we had Nick Welsh, Callum Smith and myself. With all competitors put onto matching kit for this event, the guys needed to quickly adjust, and we managed to progress through the heats and into the final.

In the finals we had a great first leg from Nick, putting us in a really strong position going into legs 2 and 3. With a late drop out, Andy Clear stepped up to the plate for Callum in the third and final leg, putting in a very tidy performance to bring the team through the line for a silver medal. Solid performance by the whole team!”

University of Exeter is part of the RYA University Sailing Network and supports a number of sailors and windsurfers on the RYA performance pathway via our Performance Programme. Sailing Scholars receive a comprehensive support services package including S&C, physio, a performance lifestyle mentor and access to athlete education workshops as well as a financial award to support with sporting expenses.

Date: 12 July 2018

Read more University News