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A team representing the British Universities Sailing Association (“BUSA”) has just finished the first week of a month-long tour of the east coast of the USA, competing against the best US university sailors in the disciplines of team racing, match racing and fleet racing, in boats including 420’s, Flying Juniors, Vanguard 15s, Lasers, Lynx catboats and Colgate 26s.   The Tour takes place every two years and is hosted alternately by the UK and the USA.  

The tour includes five trophy events counting towards the Tour results, plus numerous other competitions.

The first trophy match took place last Friday 9th match racing in Colgate 26 keel boats against the US Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut for the Lord John King Trophy.  The BUSA team of Andy Shaw (Southampton Uni), Ben Saxton (Southampton Uni), Tim Saxton (Exeter Uni) and George Yeoman (Newcastle Uni) started strongly in the best of three races event, winning 2-0  a good start to the Tour!

The next trophy match took place on Monday 12th for the Thomas Lipton Trophy  a 3v3 team racing event with five races to decide the winners, sailed in Vanguard 15s in Newport, Rhode Island.  Sailing for the BUSA team were twin brothers Ben and Tim Saxton, Mark Powell (Edinburgh Uni) & John Platts-Mills (Oxford Uni), Sam Littlejohn (Bath Uni) & Claire Lasko (Oxford Uni).

In the first race the USA team got off to a flying start and took the race with a 1-2-3 combination. BUSA 0 – USA 1.  For the second race the helms and crews swapped roles and the BUSA team sailed away with the race after some good team racing to level the series.  In the third race, after swapping back to the original roles and after some carnage at mark 3 unfortunately the American’s took the victory. This took the scores to BUSA 1- USA 2 with the Americans only needing one race win to take the victory with two races remaining.

Another crew swap saw BUSA win race 4 comfortably after a superb downwind conversion to level the series again at BUSA 2 – USA 2.

With the team sailing in their original roles the pressure was on, with the winner of race five winning the trophy. Coming off the start line the BUSA team were up in 2 of the 3 pairs but had lost control of the starboard side.  At mark 1 BUSA were in a losing 1 – 4 – 6 combination but managed to convert this to a winning 1-4-5 combination at the top of the run whilst the USA team tried to chase down first. Unfortunately they succeeded and took first place and approaching the leeward mark BUSA were now in a losing 2-4-5 combination and USA winning with 1-3-6 but then 6 had to take a penalty. At mark 3 BUSA converted into a winning 2-3-4 combination with the USA team in 1 and big bad 5 6. This was maintained up the final beat and the race ended in the same combination.  BUSA had won the Thomas Lipton Trophy 3 ? 2!  According to the records this is the first time since 1975 that this match trophy has been won in the USA by the BUSA team.

With two of the five trophy matches completed the BUSA team hold a 2 – 0 lead.

Next week the tour moves on to Boston, Massachusetts, for two-boat team racing in the quirky Lynx catboats of MIT for the British American Trophy match on 16 September plus fleet racing in the Hatch Brown regatta. 

The BUSA team would like to take this opportunity to thank all the sailors and volunteers involved who helped to make these matches so successful.

For the latest updates please go to the BUSA Sailing Facebook page

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