Sailing takes on The Turtle

Last weekend the Imperial College Sailing Club sent three teams of six sailors to compete at the Warwick Turtle hosted by the Warwick University Sailing Club. Most of the team members hopped on the minibus at 5 am Saturday morning, with the mission to beat the remaining members comfortably driving by car. Those on the minibus were instead graced with a fantastic music selection, the continuous chat provided by Aidan (our social sailor and second team captain, out of action due to being punched in the face by a Chelsea fan), but most importantly, a taste of Fraser’s exemplary driving.

Upon our arrival to Draycote Water, we saw the morning breeze picking up. The wind conditions however were the least of our concerns when we realised one of our second team’s crews, Michal Wojnowski, was nowhere to be seen. It later transpired that he had a fun night out at Oxford, attempted to climb over the fence of Christ College and missed his ride to Warwick with the Oxford sailing team.

Joe Burgin and Calvin Chan battle strong winds to help Imperial Blue achieve a second position overall in the competition.

Despite this, racing had to go on. Third team crew, Radhika, temporarily joined second team (Imperial White) to race against our first team (Imperial Blue) in the first race of the whole event. Luck wasn’t on her side, however, as both her and Ariane from Imperial White ended up the water after capsizing soon after the rounding the second mark of the race. This was more than enough of an advantage for the Blues to finish in a winning combination with boats in 1st, 2nd and 3rd places. Apart from temperamental winds, our teams were also dealing with a biased umpire – Aidan, our injured second team captain was also umpiring the event, and in our opinion, did not do a very good job of it!

The day progressed as the teams battled strong winds and got used to racing in different conditions and competing against different teams. The racing finished for the day around mid-afternoon, when the sun had already set, and our sailing kit was sufficiently wet from hiking out on the boats, the persistent rain, and earlier capsizes.

Krystal Law and ULU helm Victoria Hinkovska deal with a rudder problem in challenging conditions.

As per usual, the evening social demanded the participants to show up in attributed costumes. Our teams brought their most improvised game in the disguises of; the 3 little pigs, blind mice and Pinocchio. The traditional curry meal served both as comfort food from an exhaustive day, and a place to start pre-ing for the night ahead. Shout out to Warwick University Sailing Club for providing us with copious amounts of their famous beverage aptly named “Eliminator”. Despite each sailor being allocated a generous 1 litre portion of the drink, many bottles were stolen from other teams and could be found hidden under the table. The cocktail masked a substantial amount of spirits under the flavour of orange squash and ‘Blue Bolt’ energy drink and our social sec, Aidan, made sure every sailor had a sufficient quantity of it before we left the curry house. The rest of the night comes in separate flashbacks to most of the team members, but everyone was sure to have had a splendid night out at Warwick.

Imperial Red helm Chris Winters surveys the waters.

Sunday morning didn’t allow any time for a hangover, as the 3 teams had to wake up at 7.30 am for a bright and early start to sailing. The results from the previous day re-distributed our teams in different fleets; Imperial Blue were in Gold fleet aiming to get into finals, while Imperial White and Red were sailing in Bronze fleet and had more room to play new tactics whilst still getting positive results. With longer waits in between races due to even stronger wind conditions, some of our sailors were keen on getting more time on the water by joining other teams with missing members. Toby Freeland, one of Imperial White’s helms, decided to sail with the Swansea alumni team. We unwittingly discovered on the water that he was sailing against Imperial Blue in the semi-finals match of the whole competition. This prompted calls of “you better capsize Toby” and “if you win a race you’re not getting a ride back to London” from members of Imperial Blue. Luckily, Imperial Blue easily breezed through the semi-finals but unfortunately lost to Magdalene College School in a closely fought finals with very strong winds finish in a highly respectable second position overall.

The event was a fantastic way to get ready for BUSA Qualifiers (more about that next week), and overall a weekend full of great sailing and socialising. Many thanks to the University of Warwick Sailing Club for organising the event and hosting our teams. See you all next year! Thank you Rooster Sailing for supplying our club with kit!

Written by Marta Nunes de Abreu

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