Sailing success for Team Durham
AMONG THE 33 teams who qualified for the Team Racing finals – the highlight of the university sailing year – were Durham 1 (Andy Conn, Pippa Wilkinson, Rich Clay, Jemima Riley, Ed Sidgwick and Helen Williamson) and Durham Ladies (Hayley Goacher, Bryony Meakins, Tash Lister, Heather Jones, Olivia Pettit and Megan Chamberlain).
The Ladies team had a fantastic first day out. The Ladies team dominated the competition by winning eight of their ten races and ended an excellent day in first place.
The First Team didn’t share the Ladies’ luck; they threw away their first race against Manchester, and failed to make an impact against Southampton in their second race.
Things began to look up with a win against Oxford 2nds. However, they lost the next race against local rivals and training partners Newcastle due to a series of fouls.
Suddenly, late in the afternoon, they found their form, racking up respectable wins against Cambridge 2nds and Bath, which gave them a 1,2 all around the course and a huge confidence boost.
On Thursday, with the wind light and changeable, the roles reversed. Durham Ladies struggled, especially against the strong Bristol teams, dropping to second place by the end of the day.
Meanwhile, Durham 1 stormed through the Gold fleet. They took control of the start line and won seven out of eight races, including clear wins over last year’s champions Southampton 1st.
The wind on Friday was again light and fickle. Durham Ladies continued well to secure a place in the quarter-finals.
The Firsts kept their winning streak by comfortably beating Newcastle and Nottingham. Thanks to some fantastic manoeuvres up the final beat, they also scraped a win against Bristol 1.
Their ten race wins placed Durham 1 at the top of the Gold league ahead of Oxford 1st and in 4th place overall, guaranteeing them BUCS points.
The Ladies semi-finals used the new ‘Aussie Rules’ format with two chances to get to the final, so after narrowly losing to Bristol 2nds they made it by beating Bristol 1 in style.
Durham 1st was chosen by Cambridge 1st, lying third overall, as their opponents in the quarter-finals.
After a clear 1,2 win in the first of three races, Durham began to struggle. They lost a 1,3 to smooth team racing moves from Cambridge 1st.
With a win each, the pressure was on for the deciding race. Durham had a slight advantage with a 1,4,5 combination, but when Sidgwick/Williamson in 1 were given a penalty, Cambridge 1 sailed into a 1,2 and the semi-finals.
The Ladies final was a nail-biting affair. Durham took the lead off the start in the first of five races, thanks to an amazing start from Pettit/Chamberlain.
But the tight contest came down to the final face with the scores level at 2-2.
However, Bristol 2 won the start and kept their position to win the BUSA Ladies competition 2009.
The main BUSA competition was won by Oxford 1st, with Southampton 2nds in second and Exeter in third.