The Easter holidays has been the grand finale for the B.U.S.A as the Match Racing, Yachting and Team Racing all come to a head. In the F.A. Cup final Southampton endevour to prevent any expectations of a double that Arsenal may have. In B.U.S.A. however every team was out to prevent Southmapton University from winning the ?Triple Crown? and Southampton were just as determined to gain the Triple crown for the first time in B.U.S.A. history.
The road to glory begun in Rutland with the Match Racing laid on by the RYA. The BUSA National Match Racing Finals form part of the RYA National Match Racing series and therefore attract a high caliber of sailors racing in Beneteau first class 8?s. The format saw teams split into 3 round robin groups and the top three would then enter knockout stages. The final boiled down to Alex Cherry of Exeter university versus the ever formidable Paul Campbell-James of Southampton university and his experience on the international circuit proved too much for Cherry and his team despite putting up a valiant fight, the final score being 2-1.
The Team Racing was held between the 9 and 11th April at Spinnaker Sailing Club and hosted by all the girls at Southampton University Sailing Club. With a huge number of helpers the event was superbly run and on the first day there were seven hours of uninterrupted team racing. Throughout the three days the winds were light, which made for some intense team racing and by the final day it was clear who the front-runners were. Cambridge were not having a good day and after just loosing the boat race by a whisker history was to repeat itself as they narrowly lost out to Oxford again. The final therefore was between Oxford and Southampton whose confidence shone through and gave no mercy to Oxford to secure the title for a second year for Andy Corner, Paul Campell-James and Ben Field. The Ladies proved much closer; Southampton ladies had lost only one race throughout the week and that was against Southampton 2 so the gaunlet was laid down for Bristol ladies in the final. They rose to the challenge and clinched the first race on the line. However this kick started H? Brown, Karen Greenland and Katie Archer who won the next two races comfortably.
The Yachting this year had the biggest turn out all year with twenty-two boats all competing in a brand new fleet of Jenneau 37s that Sunsail now have down in Portsmouth. The racing was run by RORC and the event managed by Portsmouth University. This was a high profile event and the professional attitude shown in running the event could be seen in the professional attitude the boats were sailed around the race course. However it was clear from day one who the contenders were as Southampton Institute and Southampton University became clear contenders laying down a real derby fight. However a DND for Southampton University meant that the Institute could pull away and by the Offshore Race on the last day which was non-discardable the Institute need not have sailed. Southampton Institue and Cardiff University sponsored by Berkely Street Properties PLC were selected for the World Championships this year in France.
So 2003 saw Southampton gain a triple crown but, just like Football, each year produces new heroes and a new generation of sailors somewhere else in the country and the talent shown throughout Easter has shown the strength of university sailing.