For the first time ever last weekend, York entered the BUCS/BUSA 2014 Match Racing Championships, finishing 9th overall in the UK.
Against very strong competition and in tough weather conditions, the team, represented by Matt Goacher as helm, Sam Edom and Katie Dewing, narrowly missed out on a tantalisingly close quarter final place by just a few metres.
Hosted at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy on 28-30th April, the event was sailed in the Elliott 6m keelboat, the same class that was used for the Women’s Match Racing event at the London 2012 Olympics.
Being new to this type of boat, any time spent in the Elliott 6’s was beneficial for the team, as proved to be the case with only 2 hours of training time before the BUSA Championships started.
Their lack of experience was shown in their first race against Portsmouth, unfortunately losing their pre-start duel for a leading position along the course.
York’s fate was finally sealed after the forestay on their boat parted company with the bow, narrowly avoiding an early capsize, before a return to the dock for repairs.
Despite this, Goacher pulled through in windy conditions, gaining two penalties against their next competitor, Southampton, skippered by Annabel Vose, who has recently been selected to represent GBR at the World University Match Racing Championship.
The remaining four races in York’s group that continued over into Saturday were mostly very close, but at the end of the round robin stage, York still only had one win. However, it must be noted this was in a group that was widely regarded as being by far the tougher of the two, containing all three skippers going to the Student Worlds in a group of 7.
Having qualified for the six-team repêchage stage, York then lost a close race against the University of Bristol, before winning against Southampton Solent respectively after strong boat speed and a superb gybe.
Later on, a classic match racing tacking duel ensued against Southampton 2, but despite good speed, York were too greedy in putting in a leebow tack and were given a penalty, thus losing the race.
After a successful pre-start by Goacher as helm, fantastic spinnaker work by Edom and Dewing ensured a York lead around the course to win their next two races against Dundee and Newcastle, placing them third in their repêchage.
However, sadly this was not enough to progress York through to quarter finals, which allowed only the top two teams to continue.
Matt Goacher, Captain, told Nouse; “We had a great championship in Weymouth with strong winds and good weather.
We were massively pleased to finish 9th in the country, especially as it was YUSWC’s first time entering the Match Racing discipline. Finishing the event as the top Northern team was also an additional bonus!”
Overall, the team finished the championship as 9th in the country, which is a fantastic achievement for York Sailing.
This will hopefully act as a springboard for the club to compete more frequently in match racing in the future, having had very encouraging results recently and close races against teams selected to represent Great Britain at the FISU Match Racing World Championships later this year.