Students competing in the British University Sailing Association (BUSA) National Sailing Championships, representing universities from around the country, revelled in ideal sailing conditions...

Students competing in the British University Sailing Association (BUSA) National Sailing Championships, representing universities from around the country, revelled in ideal sailing conditions during the three-day event as they raced twenty, 36-foot yachts in the Solent for a place in the Student Yachting World Championships.

As racing began on the first day of the event, it was clear that the battle for the one place available at the world’s event in France was going to be tough. A particularly short start line, twenty jostling boats and 160 eager sailors was asking for trouble, which resulted in Plymouth 1 T-boning Bath and both boats retiring.

With two boats down, the start of the fourth race was slightly less congested. However with an increasing breeze and conditions described by Alan Green of RORC as “tricky”, wet decks, twisted kites and hairy gybes were the order of the day, not to mention Plymouth 2 losing their mast.

Having witnessed the medley of boats jockeying for position at the start, the committee extended the line to avoid any more incidents on the second day. A fresh northerly wind was a mixed blessing, the prospect of perfect sailing conditions matched against the reality of cold fingers and red noses.

Despite losing their mast, Plymouth 2 were back on the water in a replacement boat, as was Plymouth 1 who damaged their bow in a collision with Bath. The loss of their damage deposit, discouraged Bath to risk more cash and retired from the event, though a couple of crewmembers opted to lend an extra hand aboard the tailing City University entry.

The best seat in the house was next to the windward mark, where the tide was ebbing quite strongly, and as the fleet pinched to windward in an effort to lay the buoy to port, it was clear that few of the skippers had accounted for the tide. The leaders were all set downtide and had to put in another couple of tacks before finally hoisting the kite and running for the gybe mark. Those following benefited from seeing the errors of those in front, and perhaps it was for this reason that the top ten boats all finished within 80 seconds of each other.

General recalls, postponements, and disqualifications were just the beginning of the last day’s racing. Boat after boat jumped the start in race three of the day, biting at the bit to be first round the windward mark. As the closely bunched fore-runners lay the yellow, steel racing mark, more than one were very lucky to escape the give-away, yellow go-faster stripe along the hull.

It was interesting to see the improvement in sail and boat handling throughout the event. Fewer spinnaker wraps cursed the gybe mark and mark rounding became much tighter. However it was inevitable that the South Coast dominated the event. Southampton Institute 1, skippered by Pom Green and favourite for the event, finished ahead by nine points. Running second and third on equal points were Portsmouth 1 and Plymouth 1 skippered by Adam Turk and Sam Stephens respectively.

Pom was pleased with the result, “It has been a very tight battle, we know that we haven’t always performed to our best potential, but in the end the team clicked together.”



1, Plymouth 1 (S Stephens), 11 points
2, Southampton Institute 1 (J Green), 14 points
3= Portsmouth 1 (A Turk), 20 points
3= Southampton Institute 2 (N Harrison), 20 points


1, Plymouth 1 (S Stephens), 31 points
2, Portsmouth 1 (A Turk), 36 points
3, Southampton Institute 1 (J Green), 38 points


1, Southampton Institute 1 (J Green), 40 points
2, Portsmouth 1 (A Turk), 49 points
3, Plymouth 1 (S Stephens), 49 points