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BUCS qualifiers team photo

At the Northern Regional Sailing BUCS Qualifiers, the best of the best universities in the North look to claim one of the top four spots in the region, in order to qualify straight to BUCS Team Racing Finals. Read on to find out how Durham University Sailing Club performed over an intense weekend of racing.

After months of training for all three teams, on the 4th of February 2023, Durham 1st, 2nd, and 3rd sailing teams headed down to West Kirby for the Northern Regional BUCS Qualifiers. At this event, the best of the best universities in the North look to claim one of the top four spots in the region, after a round robin of team racing, in order to qualify straight to BUCS Team Racing Finals; with the next four slots going to playoffs in Southampton.

On day 1, with a breeze of around 7 knots, gusting to 12, Durham 2s had their work cut out for them, as their first two races were derby matches against Durham 3s and Durham 1s, coming away with one loss and one win. However, after a surprise loss to Manchester 2s, the 2nd team secured only one with from four. Durham 1s, meanwhile, having avenged their loss to the 2s at Warwick Turtle, romped through most of their races until some sketchy juror decisions cost them a race against Liverpool; a team who had just been dispatched by the Durham 3s, leaving the 1s fighting to maintain their position in the top 4. Durham 3s, as only one of two 3rd teams at the event, fought well to maintain a 50/50 win rate, snatching good wins against competitive teams such as Liverpool, and giving Newcastle 2s a run for their money. Overall, with 11 races completed by most teams, the first day ended with Durham 1s on 9/11 and in a good position to compete for a finals berth. Durham 2s, despite being one of only two teams to beat Lancaster, lost to Leeds in a dubious 3 knots of wind, leaving them 6/11 and needing a strong day two to reach the playoffs. Durham 3s, having raced both York teams and Newcastle 3s sat on 5/10, after some particularly impressive work from first year captain Isobel Hedley-Fenn.

Day two was a lighter breeze of 6 knots gusting to 11, and all 3 Durham teams hoped to seal their weekends with some good wins. Durham 1s, despite a loss to Sheffield 1s, dispatched their next opponent until their final race with Durham 3s. All was looking set for an easy 1, 2, finish for the first team by mark 4, however, some final beat carnage left the result looking unclear. Unfortunately for anyone who loves an underdog story, Durham 1s did eventually seal it with a 1, 3, 6, finish. Durham 3s, having started the day 5/10 had their work cut out for them, racing both Durham 1s, Sheffield 1s and Newcastle 1s; ending their weekend a still impressive 6 wins from 14 races. Meanwhile, the first race for the Durham 2s was a do or die race with Liverpool, where the winner of which was guaranteed a place at Playoffs. The 2s entered mark 3 with a fragile 1, 3, 5, combination, but a chaotic leeward mark trap, and at least three red flags for Liverpool, resulted in a 1, 2, 3 demolition job, guaranteeing Durham 2s position. The 2nd team went on to drop a race to Sheffield 1s, and end the weekend with a familiar 1, 2, 6, combination against Newcastle 3s.

Overall, Liverpool University Sailing Club and West Kirby did a fantastic job getting through the entire round robin, and after the results were recalculated a number of times, as four teams were tied for the last three final berths on 11 wins each, the top four standings were announced as;

  • Manchester 1s in 1st
  • Durham 1s in 2nd
  • Lancaster 1s in 3rd
  • Sheffield 1s in 4th

All four teams secured their positions to head straight into BUCS Finals. Durham 2s finished 6th overall, with 8 wins from 14 races and the best record from any university 2nd team in the region, meaning that they will go on to compete at Playoffs in a few weekends time. Tragically, Durham 3s were one win away from qualifying, ending their weekend on 6 from 14. However, they were the 3rd best university 2nd team in the region, let alone 3rd team, and more than proved themselves to be a formidable force in the region. All in all, it was a successful weekend for all three teams despite the disappointment, and we wish the Durham 2s all the best at Playoffs in early March.