Swansea University Sailing Club kicked off the year with a sizeable intake of first years who came along to our taster session, showing mixed ability from complete beginner to first team potential. The team’s racing season began with three teams heading to Plymouth in late October which saw Swansea return in third place. All sailors had a chance to improve their team racing skills in their new pairings. In early November we sent seven experienced sailors to Fleet Racing, all of which represented Swansea well.
Mid-November saw the club hosting the Swansea Spartan team racing event, with over seventy races completed on the Saturday. The Sunday brought strong winds, meaning the races were brought down to two flights of boats. Thirty three races were completed with another twelve for the petite and grand final. Overall, Exeter came in third, Portswood Pirates following in second and Swansea University Alumni Sailing team came in first and won the Stanley Mon Cup which was presented to Commodore Bella Cooper. The weekend ran smoothly and was yet another greatly successful team racing weekend.
The following weekend, two Swansea teams headed to Cardiff to compete in the Welsh Dragon. The Saturday saw Swansea Green win half of their races and the new team, Swansea White, won one of their races whilst also improving on their team racing by learning new skills and tactics. The Saturday results meant that both teams qualified for the Bronze fleet on the Sunday, with Swansea Green finishing joint first place.
After a break for Christmas and the exam period, two teams were sent to Warwick for the first team racing event of 2019, all of whom were very excited to get back out on the water after a long break. Saturday saw some successful races for both Swansea Black and Swansea White, with both teams winning two out of their six races. Strong gusts and full rigs meant that a few sailors in Swansea Black went in swimming. Unfortunately sailing was cancelled on the Sunday due to 30 knot winds. Results saw Swansea White finish in a comfortable twelfth place with Swansea Black coming in at sixteenth.
Late January brought mid season training, prior to qualifiers and in foresight for the rest of the year. The cold weather meant for some freezing sailing out on the water, but everyone had fun nonetheless. The expert coaching meant that all sailors learnt new techniques and were able to practice and improve in preparation for future team racing events and Varsity later in the season.
As well as more team racing events including National Qualifiers, the club will be competing in Yachting Nationals in April. The club will also be hosting a yachting weekend away to the Solent in mid March to train. After last years result of fourth place in the Silver fleet and twelfth place overall at Yachting Nationals the club are hopeful to achieve as strong a result with a team of keen yachties led by an experienced skipper.
The club has also been taking part in The Green Blue Challenge again this year after coming in third place last year and winning a prize of £100 at the Southampton Boat show. This University challenge is run by the RYA and British Marine as part of an outreach programme to improve boating sustainability. The club is taking this opportunity to achieve the tasks set to make the training facility as environmentally friendly as possible. In an attempt to reduce the impact on British waters and the British marine wildlife, the club has been raising awareness about the spread of Invasive Non Native Species, reducing the amount of single use plastic by taking reusable water bottles out on the water and by teaching sailors about how to use oil spill kits and where to find one.
by Anna Stubbs