GUSC on the crest of a wave

Published

Joe Mclean

The Glasgow University sailing team was recently crowned Scottish University Champions at the student yachting tournament in Portsmouth.

The Glasgow team, consisting of Moray Clark, Henry Viljanen, Peder Schimmel, Samuel Tabor, Alex Erjavec, Euan Plater, Ailsa Pender and Charlie Foot, traveled down to Portsmouth with their main objective being to beat the other Scottish teams and get the prestigious entry slot to represent Scotland at the Student Yachting world cup in France later this year.

Races were sailed in brand new Beneteau First 40s yachts on the Solent and over the course of the week-long event the Glasgow team competed in both passage and round the cans racing. Glasgow University battled it out against their arch-rivals Strathclyde (and previous competitors in the Student Worlds), to not only claim the Scottish University Trophy and beat all Northern English teams but also secure two 4th places in Britain.

It was not all plain sailing, as team member Charlie Foot explained: “After the stable breeze and fantastic sunshine during the practice race and the first race, the wind picked up and the committee displayed the U and Y flags, forbidding the use of spinnakers and signaling that personal flotation devices shall be worn.” After the first day Glasgow found themselves in thirteenth place, two points behind the University of Strathclyde’s sailing team.

The second day’s racing included two upwind-downwind courses and a short passage race. As Charlie told the Guardian: “We were sailing in a slightly more gentle breeze than on the day before and a rather consistent series of sailing got the GUSC keelboat team to the leading position within the Scottish teams.”

Starting the third day, the GUSC team competed in a non-discardable 5-hour passage race. With the competition increasing Glasgow now found they were six points ahead of Strathclyde. Commenting on the third race, Charlie continued: “The atmosphere started being both excited and thrilling. Shortly after the start, individual team members one at a time started realising that there were not many boats ahead of us. Beating for 3-hours in a good breeze and rounding the windward mark fourth. But after losing a position due to a bad spinnaker hoist, the fourth place was taken back after one of the leading teams missed out a mark on the course and had to go back to round it properly.”

Light winds dominated the last day of the event, with a 22nd place in the first race of the final day after some very safe sailing, and then another fourth place after having rounded the windward mark first made sure that the Glasgow University Sailing Team would win the SUSA yachting trophy, placing 13th overall and on top of all the northern boats. In doing so they qualified to the world championships.

The overall winners of the event were Southampton White, both winning the event and representing England at the SYWOC. The Scottish team now looks forward to some serious training in preparation for the Student Yachting Worlds in France later in the year
The GUSC has a reputation for fielding strong teams in a variety of disciplines, which compete at both Scottish and British events.
Team racing forms the bulk of the racing activity for GUSC and there are regular events and training sessions spaced throughout the entire academic year. GUSC has some of the top team racing squads in Scotland. This year the A team placed second in the SUSA leagues whilst the B team finished 4th. The C team had a more comfortable mid table finish. This meant that the A’s entered for the BUSA championships, and the B’s traveled to the BUSA playoffs to attempt get a place at finals.

The Sailing Club is one of the biggest in the University with the biggest active membership of any other university sailing club in Scotland. They have 6 firefly dinghies, the national team racing boat and access to Laser 2000 and Laser Picos at Bardowie Loch on the outskirts of Glasgow.

For anyone wishing to try the sport, they hold Open Sailing every Wednesday afternoon at Bardowie Loch. The GUSC can teach you to RYA standards, with the clubs many instructors and experienced sailors.

For more information on the club visit the Glasgow University sailing Club website www.gusailing.com or Facebook page ‘GUSC’.
The club is looking for sponsorship and any help before their competition in France later this year would be hugely appreciated.
E-mail: sailing-committee@gla.ac.uk