On the 2nd/3rd February, 15 Ladies teams from across the UK arrived at Spinnaker Sailing Club for the Ladies Team Racing Nationals. Despite worries over severe weather warnings and gales forecast, teams were pleasantly surprised to arrive on Saturday with beautiful blue skies and some perfect team racing conditions.
With the prospect of poorer weather for the following day, racing got underway quickly in an evenly split A and B league. Before the day was through, teams were divided into a Gold league, in which Southampton teams seemed to dominate with Southampton 1, Southampton 2 and Southampton Old Girls all qualifying, and a Silver league.
The strong winds forecast arrived on Sunday morning and cut downs were put straight on the Fireflies. The first two teams to race, Southampton Old Girls and Southampton 2, coped well with the conditions and the rest of the teams were promptly launched to continue the previous day’s Gold and Silver leagues.
In the Gold league, Society continued their winning streak without dropping a race, despite close racing against BUSA Ladies. Amongst the other Gold league teams, BUSA Ladies, Southampton Old Girls, Southampton 1, Southampton 2, Bristol Old Girls, Cambridge and Sevenoaks, racing was tight. Sevenoaks had sailed well on the first day, but their light team struggled with the heavier winds.
Meanwhile in the Silver league Oxford and Edinburgh came out top with Oxford proving themselves to be worthy winners of the Silver league beating Edinburgh with a convincing 1, 2, 4 win.
The race committee managed to complete both Gold and Silver Leagues by lunchtime on Sunday. However conditions on the racecourse remained unpredictable and the race committee made the decision to end sailing then. This was a disappointment to some teams keen to get more sailing in, but with a clear winner and a fantastic weekend of sailing already in place it was perhaps not worth the risk.
Congratulations must go to Society, overall winners of the Ladies Nationals for yet another year, winning all of their races. They were closely followed by BUSA Ladies in 2nd, Southampton Old Girls in 3rd, Southampton 1 in 4th and Oxford as winners of the Silver League. Thanks go to Spinnaker Sailing Club for hosting the event, the race committee, umpires, everyone in the kitchen and all the helpers from Southampton.
All 10 University Teams entered have now qualified to battle it out to be BUSA Ladies Champions at the BUSA Team Racing Championships held at Farmoor/Oxford Sailing Club on 26th-28th March.
These teams will be: