Left to right: Jordan Saints (Bow), Tarra Gill-Taylor (Main), Jason Saints (Helm) took silver at the National Match Racing Championships at Weymouth.

Exeter sails to BUCS Silver

Sailors from the University of Exeter have further extended their impressive points haul this season by claiming Silver in the BUCS/BUSA Match Racing Championship at Weymouth, 29-30 March.

Using Elliott 16s, previously used at the London Olympic Games, the championships took a head-to-head race format, with crews of three entering a round-robin group stage prior to knock-out finals.

Exeter crew members Jason Saints (skipper), Tara Gill-Taylor (main) and Jordon Saints (bow) overcame 25 knot winds to comfortably win their group with five victories out of six.

The quarter-finals were an equally straight forward affair; Exeter taking a convincing 2-0 victory over Bristol to see them through to the last four going into Sunday.

Sailing club Vice Commodore Tamsin Davies and team skipper Jason Saints reported: “Winds on Sunday were far lighter than previous days, building to around ten knots later in the day.

“The semi-finals consisted of a 'first to three wins'. The Exeter boys were well matched against Loughborough, and racing was very close, however, Exeter secured the three wins needed to progress to the final against defending champions Southampton Solent. 

“The final was again very close, this time the team finished in second place. The team were delighted with their result, as they fended off the top ranked competition in the country, including a number of sailors recently selected to represent England in the Student Match Racing World Cup later in the year.”

The result adds to the club’s impressive BUCS achievements this season. Both the Fleet Racing and Match Racing teams have now finished second in their respective competition, making Exeter the only university to have medalled in both of the seasons sailing events.

As one of the University’s , Exeter’s sailing programme receives specialist support from the High Performance Unit. Close links with the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) make it a destination institution for aspiring sailors, with three current scholars forming part of the RYA Podium Potential Squad.

Exeter’s sailing alumni have also fared well this season, Hannah Diamond (Exercise and Sports Science, 2011), Sophie Weguelin (Exercise & Sports Science, 2011), Nicola Groves (Biosciences, 2010) and Nick Thompson (Exercise and Sports Science, 2008) all picking up medals at the Miami World Cup event in January.

Assistant Director of Sport (Performance and Competitions), Nick Beasant said: “Our achievements this year cement Exeter’s position at the fore-front of student sailing.

“The club has an excellent reputation for developing sailors at all levels which is testament to the tireless efforts of each of our sailors.

“We are fortunate to have such good links with the RYA and be so close to the National Sailing Academy in Weymouth and Portland, where a number of our top sailors go to train and the benefits of this connection are clear to see.

“There is still a significant amount of sailing to be done this year, so I am confident that this is not the last we will hear of the club in 2014.”

The club will be hoping to carry their current momentum through the rest of the season which sees them travel to Strathclyde, Scotland, for the Team Racing championships from 6-8 April and back to Weymouth for the Yacht Racing finals from 13-17 April.

Date: 4 April 2014