Contact Thea Crawshaw (DUSC Commodore) or Doug Beattie (NUSC Commodore) for more information and entries.
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Against all odds Durham managed to successfully put on a days racing on the Sunday following a heavy snow shower on Friday evening! The weekend though somewhat chilly was a success nonetheless with teams from all over the North competing despite the cold!
The Durham Dambuster sailing event was heavily anticipated this year, after having all 16 team entries filled earlier than ever before. It was hoped that a repeat of the last year’s light winds, or even of the previous year’s gale, could be avoided. In that respect, we were rewarded with weather that could hardly have been more perfect for team racing – a light Saturday breeze that meant that all the boats had to concentrate very hard on maintaining boat speed in shifty, and occasionally also quite gusty, conditions.
The start on both days was delayed slightly by the late arrival of some competitors, but the briefing was only marginally later than the 9.15 planned for Saturday morning. The teams all performed very well, and in a particularly exciting twist for DUSC the late withdrawal of one entered team meant that a team of current Durham squad members had the opportunity to compete. The team was due to be captained by Natasha Lister, but, due to illness, she was unable to sail. The biggest relief for Durham sailors was that the competing team was not the subject of any seriously disputed calls by the umpires, as one of the umpire boats was being crewed by a couple of very able umpires from the squad itself.
The round robin was successfully completed (a very rare occurrence at sailing events) on Saturday, and the teams were separated into gold and silver leagues for a second round robin on Sunday. Gratifyingly the Durham team, which was by this point composed almost exclusively of 2nd team members, made it through to the gold fleet.
The wind on Sunday was (as forecast) higher than Saturday’s winds, but with cut downs on this presented no real difficulty, and the two leagues continued to sail effectively against each other.Around lunchtime however the wind picked up slightly and, more worryingly, the gusts became stronger. The silver fleet was sailing in Newcastle’s boats, which had porter hulls, and consequently they became very full of water very quickly, some to the point of having the water level above their gunnels. It was decided to abandon the second round robin and instead progress straight to quarter finals.
The Durham team was drawn against Edinburgh A in the quarters, and didn’t have a particularly good start. Nevertheless, all was not lost, and Durham fought valiantly back, without a great deal of success until an excellent rules call and mark trap at mark 3 from Ross Palmer that converted Durham into a very neat 1, 2, 3 combination. Durham were equally successful in the semi finals against SUSA men’s team, but then lost the first two races of the three race final against SUSA old boys.
All the competitors seemed to really enjoy what was a particularly well run Dambuster, and everyone was very grateful that that weather was so fortuitous. The racing was good, and the best team won in the end – now we have to look forward to an equally good Dambuster next year.
All the teams met on Friday night, for their annual visit to Klute and
an unmistakeably Durham night out.
Saturday dawned bright and sunny, although freezing, with very light winds. Racing got off to a prompt start, but after a few races the wind died totally and the race team was forced to postpone. It filled in soon after from a different direction, and the sailors got another few races in before it disappeared again.
In the afternoon, the wind was again unpredictable, and the race team cancelled just after 3pm as the final race drifted over the finish line. It was a frustating day for all involved, with only 13 races completed. SUSA 1, Warwick and the two West Kirby teams are strong contenders for the finals tomorrow.
Sunday's wind is forecast to be perfect, so an early start is planned.
The weekend of the 18th January saw Durham play host to the second highly successful Durham Dambuster team racing event. Sixteen teams from across the country and even the far reaches of Ireland, came to brave it up North and face the notoriously vigorous winds of Derwent Reservoir.
True to form, the first day of racing saw winds of 20-25 knots, but with the aid of cut down mainsails the racing was able to go ahead. Heavy winds meant increased breakages but these were dealt with swiftly by the Durham team, on hand to ensure the smooth running of the event. Teams were coordinated into four seeded teams of four for the racing, which were won by Edinburgh, Spinnaker Youth, Warwick and University College Cork.
On day two the wind filled in for about ten-thirty at a moderate breeze, and with full sails back in action, provided some perfect team racing conditions. The improved conditions led to a smooth day of racing run by the Durham team, who efficiently ensured that super gold, gold, silver and bronze leagues had been completed by two o’clock. Super gold teams automatically got a place in the quarter-finals along with ¾ of the gold league. There was then a play off held between Durham Ladies, who gained first place in the silver league and Birmingham 1sts, who came top of the bronze. Durham Ladies managed to pull back on the last leg of the race to win the play off and face our own old boys’ Dambuster team, who came bottom of the gold league, to compete for the last quarter final place. Three races were held to decide the semi-finals and finals, with the final seeing Spinnaker Youth, fifty per cent of whom were from our own Durham squad, up against Warwick. In the end Warwick claimed the title by winning the first two races of the final.
Off the water, the teams enjoyed the delights of the New Inn, Revolver at the Durham Students’ Union and Klute. Although sadly this year an excursion aboard the Prince Bishop had to be cancelled due to the river being flooded, a college bar crawl provided an equally unique experience for the visiting teams.
Special thanks must go to Birmingham and Sheffield for lending boats to the event; to Derwent Sailing Club for their assistance in organising and running the event; and to the five umpires: Carol Haines, Mike Thomas, Timmy Jestico, Chris Noble and Charles Darley, without whom the event would not have been possible.
The weekend of the 3rd and 4th March saw 13 teams from universities across the country, head to Derwent Reservoir for the inaugural Durham Dambuster.
On the Saturday the teams were split into two leagues and the initial round robin was completed. Increasing winds throughout the day led to fast paced racing and a number of spectacular capsizes. Edinburgh I and Cambridge II demonstrated some superb heavy-weather boat handling to win their respective leagues, thereby entering the Gold league along with Liverpool, Dambuster I, Glasgow and Manchester I.
Racing continued on the Sunday morning, with a number of exciting races, including strong Edinburgh and Glasgow teams battling it out in a Scottish Derby and an intense clash between the Durham and Cambridge ladies’ teams. Unfortunately racing was curtailed due to strong winds, but an overall event winner was determined by the outcome of the race between Saturday’s two league winners. This saw Edinburgh I take the victory, with Cambridge II in second place.
Overall the event was a great success and gave competitors the chance to race in testing wind conditions before the upcoming BUSA national championships. Thanks must go to Derwent Reservoir Sailing Club and Peter Johnson’s team of umpires, without whom the event could not have taken place.