Victoria Coach Station, Friday 10th November, 6pm: 10 members of the Imperial College Sailing Club embarked on a great adventure – The Plymouth Pasty 2017! A great sailing competition hosted by Plymouth University with a number of universities from around the country competing!
6 hours stuck on a Megabus, the perfect opportunity to catch up on work and sleep after a long week at uni… or not. The journey began calmly with films and crafts – making protest flags and fancy-dress animal ears. We then stepped up our game, cracking open a cold one and eating pizzas which we ordered to Exeter coach station (a very good idea for anyone planning a coach journey anytime soon) in preparation for our final destination – the Plymouth Student Union. Unfortunately, we had a dramatic night involving paramedics – Our team member Aidan regrettably had an anaphylactic reaction to what he thinks was a Jägerbomb.
At 9am the following morning, fuelled by a much needed Maccies breakfast, we were pumped for a day of racing despite the very strong Westerly wind which had set in. Imperial White team (consisting of helms Aidan Bell, Toby Freeland and Oliver Kidd and crews Michal Wojnowski, Mary Chapman and Ariane De Saint Victor) got off to a rusty start having never trained together as a team and experiencing several boat breakages. However, after a couple of races we were starting to gel together and really took advantage of the event as an opportunity to practice the tactical side of team racing, executing some great mark traps and gybe backs to convert team members through and achieving some solid winning combinations. Meanwhile London Purple team (consisting of Imperial helms James Mcleod and Cobi Allen and crews Edward Brown and Marta Nunes and two Plymouth students) put on an excellent performance. They won all but two of their races and only just losing out to the Imperial White team despite a spectacular capsize by Aidan.
Re-energised by our afternoon naps, Imperial White as zebras and London Purple as snow leopards jumped back into party mode for the evening. The dinner was burgers and fries which many freshers ended up eating without hands. It was a good opportunity to interact with sailors from other universities off the water in a non-competitive environment. There were many games and chants and eventually a food fight, leaving purple coleslaw up the white walls and puddles of drinks and mayo on the wooden floors. Yet the restaurant owner quipped that we were ‘nowhere near as messy as they had anticipated’ (if only we could find restaurants this tolerant in London!). The social moved on to Pryzm so Toby and Aidan could cut some shapes before retreating back to our host’s house for some much-needed rest.
Sunday morning saw yet stronger winds, gusting 45 mph, despite this we were briefed that racing would continue as normal using smaller cut-down sails. We got changed and nursed our hangovers. By 11am, the postponement flag was still raised, we took two minutes silence for remembrance Sunday then continued to wait for racing to commence. Eventually the decision was made to launch the boats but only two races were completed before the event was called to an end due to many capsizes, boat breakages and support boat breakdowns!! Lunch time came around, and of course, being so near to Cornwall, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to eat pasties! Drawing an end to the day, the prizegiving saw Imperial White coming in an overall 2nd position and London Purple in 5th a great performance from both teams and really fun weekend!
Victoria Coach Station, Monday 13th November, 7:20am: We arrived back in London in perfect time for 9 am lectures and labs. We want to thank University of Plymouth Sailing and Powerboating Club for hosting such a wonderful event as well as taking such great photos!
– Mary Chapman and Aidan Bell