This past week 3 Southampton teams have competed at the BUCS Yachting Nationals in Portsmouth. At the helm of these racing machines known as the lustrous First 40’s was Quentin Bes Green (Team Red) whose team had an average age of about 30, Titus Treneman (Team Blue) whose team was eager for redemption, and Oli Aldridge (Team Green) whose team was filled with fresher spirit.
The races for the week would be a mixture of short windward leeward races and longer ‘round the cans’ style inshore races. The week started with light winds which favored the underweight fresher team skippered by Oli. Oli’s team put in a consistent 4th and 6th, however the lack of a competent navigator for the inshore race meant they finished in DFL, even with the short use of their engine (to avoid serious shipping danger). Quentin’s team struggled to find pace in the first race scoring a 16th out of the 24-boat fleet, feeling rather embarrassed they quickly turned their performance around with to get a bullet in the next race. Titus’s team scored an 8th and a 21st. After a long day of racing in the Solent, everyone’s mind was looking forward to the Black-tie dinner at Portsmouth’s premier nightclub…Tiger Tiger. For £20, a three-course meal and half a bottle of wine was in order, for those prices a big night was on the cards. 40 minutes in, some cheap wine sunk and many ‘fresher challenges’ the first Southampton members started to get escorted from the establishment. Chaos emerged and unlike other tables, food was going airborne, Tariq Manzil would be proud. Southampton definitely set the tone for the evening.
After a cold night’s sleep, some warmer than others, the teams awoke. Bobby Hewitt from the fresher team found himself still in his tux whilst docking out of Gunwarf. This was followed shortly afterwards by a chunder all over the guard rail during the first start sequence. Unfortunately, Bobby’s condition deteriorated throughout the day, leaving him dysfunctional with a quite disturbing green face. After some closely fought races Titus’s team were sat in 6th overall.
Day 3 started with rain and drizzle, just what you would expect from the Solent in March. Three windward leeward races were scheduled much to the liking of the fresher team who now had all 8 functioning crew members. Titus’s team climbed the leaderboard to 5th place overall securing a place in Championship fleet. Not far behind in 9th and 10th was Quentin’s and Oli’s teams respectively. The social for Wednesday night was planned to be a trip to Portsmouth’s student union and then onto a bar. With this known, all 3 teams knew that copious amounts of alcohol would have to be consumed to endure such feat. Come 9pm after many chats about the days antics and a booze run to the local Tesco Express all members were ready to bear Portsmouth’s student union. The drink of choice here was snakebite, with the occasional Doomy for the classier drinkers amongst. Up next was a bar named Zanzi. Just like Sobar it was quite small, had few bar staff and looked to be a bit unloved, but with enough pissed sailors it was the perfect place for cutting shapes. Many Baywatch requests later, some decided to head back to the yachts for the after party. Some Southampton sailors were caught up in trying to bring back a rather inebriated Josh Dawson of Newcastle University. This proved to be interesting for some and eventful to say the least. Back at the yachts, 2 Southampton students sneakily distracted Warwick University while an object that could only be described as resembling male genitalia was stuck on the bow.
The final day was somewhat of a challenge for some. The antics and racing were starting to takes its toll on some. Titus’s team who had made championship fleet (top 8 boats) scored 4, 6 and unfortunately a UFD on the last race leaving them 7th overall. Solent Black had a consistent series of 3, 1, 2 which put them in the top spot taking home the title. In Trophy fleet 2 inshore races were sailed. Oli’s team scored a 5th and 6th, nearly missing the start of the second race, thankfully Titus’s team reminded the 7 crew below deck eating that it was 3 minutes to go. They landed in 3rd place overall. Quentin’s team placed 14th and 3rd leaving them 7th overall.
It was a tough week sailed by all given the lack of experience by most of the team. Although we didn’t win on the water, it remains to be said that we definitely won the social, we’ll let you decide which is more important. Until next year!
Wessex love xxx
Photo Credits: Harry Bowerman Photography