What is BUSA?

The British Universities Sailing Association (BUSA) is the governing body for university sailing in the U.K. It is affiliated to, and supported by, the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) and is recognized by, and works with, the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) to deliver BUCS sailing championships.


Our membership is composed of subscribing University Sailing Clubs (USCs).

Ouractivities are organized by a Committee, composed of volunteers, mostly students and recent student-members elected by USC representatives at the AGM (usually at the Team Racing or Yachting Championships in March/April each year). There are two representatives of the RYA, one of whom works part-time for BUSA as its Secretary.

The purpose of BUSA is to promote student sailing, encouraging participation both recreationally and in competition in the sport, including fleet, team, match and keelboat racing.

We hold five Championships each year:

  • BUCS-BUSA Fleet Championships – usually held over the first weekend of November, at which any student may enter (irrespective of whether they have a sailing club in membership of the BUSA (those not so covered need to be members of the RYA – see Membership). There are usually up to four fleets – Fast Handicap, Firefly, Laser and Slow Handicap.
  • BUCS-BUSA Team Racing Championship – Teams of six sailors (three boats) are entered by USCs in the autumn, following selection processes, followed up with training and competition in inter-university weekend events throughout out the autumn and winter. Qualifiers and Playoffs are held in early February and March leading to Finals in March or April.
  • RYA & BUSA Ladies’ Team Racing Nationals – Women’s teams compete over a weekend, usually in March.
  • BUCS-BUSA Yachting Championship – University teams of six sailors compete over a week (immediately prior to the Easter weekend) on the Solent, living on their boats and participating in a coaching and social programme (in recent years in Sunsail Fast 40s from Port Solent and berthed at Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth).
  • BUCS-BUSA Match Racing Championship – University teams (usually of three sailors each) compete over a long weekend in April on Portland Harbour. This event is provided by the RYA, generally using its fleet of xxx and with coaching and residence at Portland House).

At least the leading team from each country is eligible to compete in the Student Yachting World Cup (held at a coastal venue in France in the autumn).

BUSA also selects teams for regular and occasional events. These are led by the Men’s and Women’s Captains, elected each year. These include:

  • A bi-annual Tour in which BUSA and Inter Collegiate …teams compete across several sailing disciplines, alternately in the U.S. and U.K., generally in September.
  • A BUSA team is usually invited to compete at the annual Wilson Trophy

British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) and the RYA select and send teams to World Championships of FISU – the Fédération Internationale du Sport Universitaire – specifically the World Match Racing Championships, with support from BUSA. BUSA, from time to time supports teams competing in other international events.

Many USCs hoist their own inter-university events, as well as alumni, weekend events, mostly team racing, but sometimes fleet racing. BUSA seeks to support these, providing an Event Calendar and news.

Social Media

BUSA uses Facebook and Twitter. Many USCs also have Instagram accounts.

All current student sailors are encouraged to be members of the BUSA Facebook Group -https://www.facebook.com/groups/busasailing - to follow and contribute to the Group, to sign upreceive notifications, as well as following us on Twitter - https://twitter.com/BUSASAILING @BUSAsailing.

[Most University Sailing Clubs have Twitter accounts and Facebook Pages and/or Groups, generally publicly visible, so that all can see what is happening.]

BUSA Sailing FB is for BUSA and its members to promote BUSA events and university sailing generally. It is visible to all Facebook users. Membership to contribute is available to bona fide student sailors, together with those involved with BUSA.

Priority is given to communication about BUSA events, but posts about other student sailing events included on the BUSA Calendar and for discussion of student sailing matters are welcome.

At some periods of the year, there is a lot of BUSA business (e.g. in the run-up to entry closing dates, around BUCS-BUSA Championships and other events). Members are asked to exercise discretion and restraint in posting other items, so as to ensure appropriate visibility of BUSA business.

The Group is not intended for personal communications, for general advertisements or for promoting events not included in the Calendar. Inappropriate language is not acceptable.

BUSA will remove inappropriate posts and reserves the right to withdraw membership privileges.

A little bit of history

BUSA was set up in the mid 1960s. It was separate from both the British University Sports Association and the RYA at that time, although it did have limited connections with both. The organisation was run by a small group of students from various universities. At the beginning this Committee of students ran the annual University Team Racing Championships and organised and selected the team for the bi-annual American and European tours.

In 1991, when the whole University sport structure was changing, BUSA remained independent from both the British University Sports Federation (BUSF) and University Athletic Union (UAU) and was provided with a full time secretary by the RYA funded by the Eric Twiname Trust. At this time sailing within Universities was still chronically under-funded and many clubs were struggling to run an effective club.

The RYA saw student sailing as an important development area and was beginning to support it more strongly and provide coaching in various areas. The 1993 Team Racing Championships were the first for which regional qualifiers were run. With several of the polytechnics becoming universities which were keen to compete in sailing, the number of entries to the Championships had become unmanageable. So, a series of four regional qualifiers were established prior to the Finals.

During this period BUSA sailing continued to liaise with UAU and BUSF with an ever-improving relationship and, by the time the two organisations merged to form the British University Sports Association, BUSA sailing was well-recognised. with a long established constitution and Championship structure.