BUCS Yachting Championships 2017
This year UPYC entered three teams; Plymouth Black, skippered by Jaime Ward, Plymouth White, skippered by James Torr and Plymouth Pink, skippered by Neil Marshall. With the aim to improve on last year’s results all teams had put good training sessions in leading up to the event, with team white going as far afield as Southampton for an intense weekends training.
After a long drive down to Portsmouth and a few drinks in Port Solent’s finest Weatherspoon’s the night before; Plymouth teams woke to blue skies and good breeze, if a little shifty. After getting through Port Solent lock gate and a long motor out into the Solent, the teams were straight into race mode, getting some valuable spinnaker and boat handling practice in before race 1 at 11:30.
With the breeze shifting around the AP was up and down but eventually the race committee managed to get two good races in 8-12 knots. Plymouth posted good consistent results all day as the crews became familiar with the Beneteau First 40’s.
Once moored up in Gunwarf all Plymouth teams were in good spirits as they headed off for the black tie dinner at Tiger Tiger, followed by a boat party on Plymouth White and for the adventurous Portsmouth’s nightclubs until the early hours.
Dawn broke on day 2 with some competitors feeling more tired than others depending on the previous night’s antics, racing however would not wait. The teams headed out into the Solent in similar conditions to day 1. Day 2 consisted of two windward leeward courses followed by a longer inshore race. Team Pink, helmed by Laser sailor Sam Clarke had a great race 4 posting a 7th Place finish, the best Plymouth result of the event so far. Plymouth white were unfortunately black flagged in race 5 and Plymouth black had to retire mid race due to their bowman Freddie Cooper taking a blow to the head with suspected concussion.
The evening entertainment consisted of fish and chips on the dock before getting some well needed sleep after an intense couple of days racing.
Day 3 and the wind was up with gusts over 20 knots, the mornings windward leeward race blew the big air cobwebs away before the long inshore race in the afternoon. With a strong NE wind, this race was all about the tactical decisions to the top mark off Bembridge before hoisting the spinnaker and holding on. Plymouth White had a fantastic race in the big breeze, James Torr applied his J24 downwind driving skillset to the first 40’s, to roll several boats in what was now 20 + knots breeze, while keeping the boat under the rig to finish in a commendable 7th place.
After another great day on the water all teams were in good spirits and after a few drinks on the boat headed off to the big social organised by BUSA.
The final day of racing and the fleet had been split with Team White in Gold fleet and Teams Black and Pink in Silver fleet. The breeze was light and shifty but Plymouth had a great days racing with Plymouth White showing good pace in the Gold fleet and Team Black posting podium race results in the silver fleet.
Final results: Team White 11th, Team Black 19th and Team Pink 23rd. A great, well organised event with tough competition from across the UK. Plymouth teams hope to continue the development going ahead into the 2018 event.