Strathclyde University ? Team Scotland
Student Yachting World Champions!

Strathclyde University Sailing Team traveled to France during the last week in October to compete in the Cup de Monde de Voile des Etudients and returned, on the 2nd of November, to Glasgow as Student Yachting World Champions 2003.

The event, organised by the Ecole Polytechnique, has been running since 1979 and each year is held in a different port in France. Cap d?Agde was the venue this year, on the South coast with racing held on the Mediterranean.

Racing took place in Jeanneau One Design 35s, with a crew of 8 [2 of which must be female]. These were chartered specially for the event by the organizers, and then randomly allocated to the teams competing, who were the winner of their national qualifying events. The Strathclyde team qualified by wining SUSA (Scottish Universities Sailing Association) Yachting, where they raced 12 other Universities from throughout Scotland. Team Scotland were joined by teams from Ireland, England, France, South Africa, Japan, Norway and Holland to name but a few.

Team Scotland was comprised of

Ruairidh Scott: Helm and Skipper
Mark Goalen: Mainsheet
Graham Tait: Tactician and Trim 2
Angus Stevenson: Crew Boss and Trim 1
Anna Scott: Pit
Victoria Wallace: Pit Support
Craig Miller: Mast
Garth Wilson: Bow
Scott Aikman: Shore Support
Neil Gray: Shore Support

Practice was due to be on the Saturday but, to ensure the evenness of the boats, this was postponed and a football tournament took place on the beach. Scotland were third with Ireland winning.

Sunday was therefore used for practice in the boats, and the week started with a bang as training commenced in around 25 knots of wind. Several boats didn?t go out, others broke equipment and returned very quickly to the harbor. Team Scotland went out to test the sails and cruised downwind at a high of 15 knots, practicing maneuvers.

Racing commenced on the Monday in light winds. The first race ran in a fairly light breeze. With the leaders England miscounting the number of laps, and the majority of the fleet following. Scotland were first to realize the mistake and rescued a 7th which was to be their discard. A second race was run in an even lighter breeze and Scotland were unlucky to score another 7th with Ireland winning.

Tuesday?s racing was cancelled due to high winds and big waves, so racing was postponed until Wednesday. This was to be the turning point for team Scotland, with a good performance in the strong winds of the first race. Having won the start, they led round the first mark but unfortunately the boat had an uncontrolled Chinese gybe and dropped to 3rd place. Good boat speed and maintaining the starboard advantage up the second beat to windward meant that by the next time Scotland hoisted their spinnaker they were back in the lead. Holding on to this gave the team their first win. This was capped off with consistency in the next two races with a decreasing breeze. A first, second and a sixth gave the team the best performance of the fleet by far.

Thursday dawned with similar conditions to Wednesday and the fleet left under a no spinnakers flag. This decision was changed as the wind decreased as the fleet traveled out to the race area. Team Scotland won the first race of the day passing the English on the last beat. The positions were reversed in the second race of the day with the English getting the better of the Scots up the first beat. With the Dutch, South Africans and Irish struggling to find any consistency this left the Scottish team with a healthy overall lead. However, this was all to change in the next race. With the Scottish team struggling with the 1800 windshifts and fickle breeze they scored a poor 8th place. The Dutch team had a good race to finish 2nd and the English sailed well on the last leg of the race to finish 4th. Race 8 also brought in a second discard. This left Scotland and England tied on 30.7 points with the Dutch a few points behind.

The atmosphere was very tense on Friday morning with all 3 teams ready for the last day?s battle. Unfortunately the wind strength [gusting over 40 knots] and sea state meant that racing was not possible on the last day. On count back it proved that the Scottish team was to be crowned Student World champions for the second time in the last 4 years due to a greater number of second places.

The team also received the sponsor?s prize for their performance on Wednesday. This meant that Strathclyde took away all the trophies for sailing at the event.

The team would like to thank all their sponsors and supporters, in particular:
The University of Strathclyde Sports Union
The University of Strathclyde Students? Association
Principal Hamnett
The Alumni Fund
The Strathclyde Centre for Sport and Recreation
Nick Christie
Gill Clothing
MacKenzie Menswear
Fyne Fish Ltd.

By Angus Stevenson / Ruairidh Scott

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