For the ninth time in twelve years Scotland was represented at the Student Yachting World Cup by Strathclyde University, who placed 6th overall after a week of intense racing in Pornic, France. Since its inception in 1979 the competition has grown enormously, from a competition only between Western European teams it has evolved into a truly international week of racing. The French engineering school École Polytechnique organises the competition every year, with this being the 33rd edition. October saw 14 nations represented by over 150 student sailors at the event which demanded that the participants complete several regattas every day throughout the week, often through inclement and hard conditions.
Team Scotland performed strongly and consistently for the duration, at one point holding third place in the table, even though they couldn’t manage to keep the podium place by the end of the week the team from The Tech will be happy to have finished a close18 points behind bronze medallists the USA.There were 6 Strathclyde students on the team, all of whom qualified for the world championships after placing as the top Scottish team at the BUCS yachting competition earlier this year in Portsmouth. Team captain Theo Hoole was enthused with the week-long effort of his crew, it was his 2nd worlds competition after he competed at the 2010 world championships where Stathclyde finished 9th. He spoke highly of his team this year who improved by 3 places on his last visit:
“We came first in the second race of the whole competition, and were the only team throughout the whole week who managed to finish inside the top ten for every single race, so I’m pleased with the consistency the team showed. The middle of the table was very close on points and we weren’t far away to finishing below where we did, though 6th place is still a great achievement for us”
This was the first year that the competition was raced in J/80 sail boats and teams were cut down in size from previous years, Team Scotland’s consistent performances throughout the regattas each day was a reflection of their strong domestic form, which they carried with them over the channel.
“A friend of mine had one of these J/80 boats, which are a big class of boat worldwide, so we had time to practice on it throughout the summer which was a good help, in previous years they’ve raced in 8 man boats but this year it was the J/80 5 man so all the boats were standardised, Allison on the helm and Ross on the team had sailed them before so it wasn’t too much of an adjustment for us. I’ve sailed since I was 13 and have been a part of the Strathclyde team since 2009, so to captain a team this good who performed so well at a very high level was rewarding for me, and improving on our place from last time is obviously something every team wants to do, and it’s something we achieved.”
Though the crews were serious and professional throughout the regattas, at night the competitive side eased and Theo recalls the international and social atmosphere that animated the evenings. “ It’s organised by students and they had different events on every night, on the International night each team had to bring some of their culture along with them, so inevitably we brought haggis and whiskey, to which we added ceilidh dancing proved to be popular with everyone, once we showed them how it was done! All the sailors stayed in golf resort accommodation close-by so we were all living in close proximity, it’s good to have that social aspect alongside the professional competition”
With the next race less than a week after the team returned there is little time for physical and mental rest, continuing their strong domestic form will be important to the Strathclyde team as they will want to further cement their dominant position in Scottish and British sailing and look to qualify for next years world championships and, again, further their place in world student sailing.
Student Yachting World Cup results.
FRA – Kedge BS (31 points)
2 – SUI – EPFL (58 points)
3 – USA – Team USA (71 points)
4 – ENG – University of Southampton (75 points)
5 – AUS – Maquarie University (76 points)
6 – SCO – Strathclyde University (89 points)
7 – BEL – UCL (91 points)
8 – DEF – UCD Team Ireland (93.5 points)
9 – IRL – Dublin Universities (111 points)
10 – GER – RWTH Aachen University (141 points)
11 – NOR – NTNUI Sailing (154 points)
12 – FRAX – X-HEC (157 points)
13 – JPN – Kobe University (196 points)
14 – CHN – Xiamen University (196.4 points)