By James Martland
Two weeks ago, a crew from Durham headed to The Frioul Islands, chosen to represent England for the 37th edition of the Student Yachting World Cup.
The crew, made up of Kochaun Yang, James Roe, Tom Goodbourn, Becky Eno, Guy Wilkinson, Verity Hopkins and James Thomas, went into the competition unsure what to expect, with little knowledge of the strength of the other crews.
As James Roe comments: “The only team we’d competed against going into the event was Team Scotland so we weren’t sure what to expect from the rest of the competition.
“Based on our experiences at the BUSA Yachting Nationals last year we decided to go into it aiming to beat Scotland and to see where we were overall.”
However, despite this lack of experience, Durham were able to surpass expectations, securing a second-place finish behind the crew from Kobe University representing Japan. Nevertheless, Roe’s assertion proved correct as this was one place above the Scottish team, who finished third, despite leading after the first three days.
Roe also points out that whilst the choice of Durham as the representative of England was an honour, it was well-deserved considering the club’s recent success over the last year, particularly in BUCS.
“The opportunity for us to represent England was well-deserved and we enjoyed representing the country and our club on a global stage.”
Durham remained competitive for first place throughout, but remained second at the end of each of the five days. Even so, they did well to claw back the Scottish side who were first overall after three days and can be very pleased with the overall result.
The second day of competition was perhaps the most successful for the Durham crew, as they won three out of the four races.
However, going into the final day, Durham had a great chance to claim an overall victory. Causes outside of the crew’s hands meant that this was unable to happen, but as Roe states, despite this disappointment, Durham can hold their heads high now and should be regarded as one of the best in the world.
“The team are incredibly pleased with the result. Team Japan and Scotland were good competition throughout the regatta, with first place coming down to just two points going into the final day, which was unfortunately cancelled due to strong wind after the first couple of days of racing, after which we, fortunately, end[ed] up in second where we stayed consistently throughout the regatta.
“Every member of the crew gave it their all and while it is obviously a shame we didn’t get to try and aim for the gold on the final day, second is still a fantastic result, and on top of our success in BUCS over the last couple of years we have cemented ourselves not only as the best university yacht club in the north but now also as one of the best in the world.
“The event was excellently run, we had a good variety of wind conditions and the racing was very competitive in every part of the fleet.
“The Frioul Islands where we were based are stunning and a fantastic location for sailing with good weather throughout the week.”
The competition is one which England last won in 2014 when represented by Southampton University. However, Durham will want to continue to put their name on the trophy and hopefully go one better in the 2018 edition.
Photograph: Binet Photo