Lancaster score four points in the Open 1's sailing


York and Lancaster boats take on the water at Ripon Sailing Club

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Image by Evie Winter

By Evie Winter

The sailing races began early in the morning with York’s first team feeling doubtful after their recent race against Lancaster at Nottingham’s Snakebite 2023.

First, some background for our not-so-nautically-inclined readers. This is a team racing competition, with two people per boat, one helming and one crewing. Lancaster and York will have three boats per race respectively. The races are best of three, and the idea is to weave around the S-shaped course as quickly as you can. The points system is another thing to wrap your head around. Points are given based on your position in the race (1-point is first place, 2-points second, and so on) and in order to win you want the lowest total score possible - in this race you need ten points or under to win. That’s it, simple.

York started strong and Richard Townley performed a swift gybe-back, sharply turning the boat around mark four to then take first position. Unfortunately, this was not enough to win York the race, and the concluding result was a 2-3-4 winning combination for Lancaster. However, there was initially a lot of confusion around who won the race, with York’s Emma Skillet calling for room between their boat and the finish boat. The race was very close (unexpected by both teams) and made for a really exciting watch.

The second race was equally eventful, and Lancaster started strong with a 1-3-5 position. There was a lot of protest at mark two, resulting in Lancaster being issued a penalty of two spins (so they had to stop and spin 720 degrees). At this point, York gains a winning 2-3-4 combination and retains this position down the run. With one of their boats in fifth, they needed to keep the Lancaster boat in sixth in order to win the race. Tensions were high. Ollie Hughes took first place for York, as they moved in for a ‘first not last’ tactic, and with improving communication and steadiness of York’s team, York took the win.

Once again, Lancaster started strong at the start of the next race, obtaining a 1-2-3 position. York was forced to take a long route around mark one, losing some momentum around the course. Lancaster were incredibly strong in this race, securing the top three spots, well ahead of the York team. At this point, among spectators there was concern over the wind conditions - there was not a lot.

Race four begins with a tragedy for York, they didn’t make it to the start line! York boats facing away from the start line, it wasn’t great. York made a quick recovery and caught Lancaster boats further along the course - a shocking turn of events. They end the final race in style, with morale high and teams proud of themselves. Considering the recent thrashings Lancaster have bestowed upon York, the first team should be really proud of themselves for putting so much pressure on the Lancaster team and winning one of their races. Well done everyone!