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An Insight Into the Scottish Sailing Championships

In the wake of a cold, very early morning, the University Sailing Club set off in their cars to set up for the three-day, three-night Scottish Sailing National event. The event began with the club awaiting the arrival of nineteen teams spreading across the country. These teams are from multiple universities, such as the University of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, Strathclyde and various alumni teams made up of them all. The event is annual, but the St Andrews club hosting is something that happens once every five years making it a special one for the fourth years on the team. “This event in particular, compared to previous Champs, has been both a way to say goodbye to SSS and St Andrews Sailing,” says Lana Davies, fourth year and Commodore of the Saints Sailing club. 

The Scottish National Championships began the evening of 7 March and ended with the prize giving on the afternoon of the 10th. The main focus, of course, is the team racing. If you are unfamiliar with team racing, I asked the sailors attending the event the best way in which to describe it. Ewan Wilson, captain of the Edinburgh team, summed it up perfectly: “Team racing is a 3v3 sailing race where you and your teammates aim to score a combined number of points which equates to less than ten. It is done by slowing the boats on the other team down to try and pass your teammates through.” This, as you can imagine, creates a competitive and loud atmosphere on the water. Every race is umpired by four people, who have to make in-the-moment penalty calls. These calls can mean winning or losing the race. 

This event differs from the other league events because, as alumni Hector Mckemey told me excitedly, “one more day of racing than other league events, and it has a ball!” This year the ball was held by the Old Course Hotel, where awards such as best/worst team, biggest blunder, and best couple to never be were handed out. The night ended with a two-hour ceilidh, which is the sailing community's favourite activity and always ends with a couple of bruises if you do it right. 

It was an exciting three days of racing with a total of 230 races sailed. The wind luckily stayed pretty consistent except midday on Friday which put us into cut downs, meaning smaller sails. There were a lot of old rivalries rekindled this weekend, with an intense race between the St Andrews alumni and Tartan Titans alumni team. It also held a new rivalry between Edinburgh Black and Edinburgh Blue who had a tight race in the semi-finals, ending with Edinburgh Black slowing them down and passing their teammate through. 

Keelin Greene, the events officer of Saints Sailing, remarks on her successful weekend. “All of the preparation we did definitely made running the event go as smoothly as possible! It was a fun weekend.” A few capsizes later, the student scoreboard read as follows: first place to Edinburgh Black, second to Edinburgh Blue, and third to St. Andrews.

Image: Gus Beer

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