EUSC Feature

Exeter University Sailing Club Sunsail Champions 2017

Exeter University Sailing Club takes top spot in the BUSA Sunsail University Club Championships 2017

The closely fought contest was decided on aggregate by results at last month’s BUCS University Sailing Championships with Exeter coming out on top in both the Team Racing and Match Racing competitions and fourth in the Yachting Championships for a total of 288 points. 

The University of Exeter Sailing Club are the winners of the Sunsail University Club Championship 2017, securing the grand prize of a choice of Sunsail sailing holiday to either Turkey or the British Virgin Islands. The closely fought contest was decided on aggregate by results at last month’s BUCS University Sailing Championships with Exeter coming out on top in both the Team Racing and Match Racing competitions and fourth in the Yachting Championships for a total of 288 points. Southampton University were a close second with 276.5 points, while Strathclyde were third with a total of 213.5 points at the end of all three events.

Having already won Gold in the Team Race at West Kirby Sailing Club and achieving a respectable 4th in the Yacht race held in Port Solent and Gunwharf Quays, University of Exeter Sailing Club took to the water again. This time Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy played host on 20th-23rd March with the Match Racing finals, which involves 2 boats (controlled by 3 sailors) racing head to head in the best of 3 races. 

Exeter got off to a slow start during the heats but managed to progress through to the quarterfinals on Saturday thanks to some great tactical sailing. Exeter lost their first quarter final match to Southampton but thanks to some great sailing from Tarra Gill-Taylor they managed to pull back with a 2-1 win. The semi-final saw Exeter facing Warwick and with a great team performance, won 2 straight races to progress through to the final. 

The wind was very light and Exeter faced a strong and experienced Bath team. After a short period of postponement, racing got underway in a light SW breeze with Exeter managing to win the first race after some very tight racing. With victory in reach Exeter sailed a fantastic final race thanks to the hard work of Laura Gilmore and Ollie Grogono to cross the line 1st and be crowned BUCS Match Racing champions 2017! 

A fantastic performance by those involved and a fairy-tale ending for the current season. Congratulations to Tarra Gill-Taylor, Ollie Grogono and Laura Gilmore for their fantastic achievements and commitment to the club.

The following weekend Colwyn Bay sailing club hosted the top university windsurfers from around the country. Exeter University’s Sailing Club Captain and Sports Scholar Matt Barton attended the BUCS National Windsurfing Championships with fellow British Sailing Team member & Sports Scholar James Hatcher. The competition format did not permit the one design equipment of Olympic racing to be used with max sail size of 7.5 m/sq. This meant some retro kit from the Windriders Club lock up was dusted off for the trip up to North Wales. 

Following competitors briefing, the advanced fleet (competing for BUCS points) took to the water to compete in a series of races. James Hatcher, after a slow start, proceeded to post a consistent score line to pull himself up into second place going into the final race with Matt Barton sitting in first. 

The final race was a winner takes all scenario with two other windsurfers having the potential to topple the Exeter 1-2 dominance. Both Matt and James started well, rounding mark 1 in 1st and second with their closest rivals separated in the course. They managed to hold this position to the line and ultimately take BUCS Gold and Silver. 

The success of all the students this year is a testament to their commitment and work rate to help achieve these goals and put the sailing club, and University, well and truly on the map for all competitive sailors and windsurfers.

 Article co-written by Matt Barton (Sailing Club Captain) & James Fleming (Sport Scholarship Recruitment Officer)

Date: 10 May 2017

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