by Sonya Stock
University teams from across South Africa met in Durban during the July vac for the annual Intervarsity Keelboat Match Racing Regatta. As usual, all universities brought their A-game with ‘gees’ levels high both on and off the water, creating an epic atmosphere for some classic shenanigans.
The regatta started with a bang on the afternoon of the 7th following a short briefing outlining the rules. The start of the round robin saw a rather blustery, overcast 15 knots Southeaster. Although not ideal conditions to match race in, Pool A and half of Pools B and C were completed.
Despite last minute drop outs by bridge crew due to flu, the racing ran smoothly with numerous student volunteers helping Ed de Lange hold down the fort.
The second day of the regatta came with more ideal conditions – warm and sunny with a gentle 6 knot breeze. Due to delays waiting for wind, the day ended when the Pool races were all completed. In an attempt to work around the dismal wind forecast for the next two days it was decided that the finals would be in the form of a round robin, with the top teams from the pool stages going through: UCT A, TUKS, Rhodes and UKZN.
The final day started with a three hour wait for wind and then some perfect, tight match racing in 5 knots of breeze. UCT A managed to claim the win, with TUKS in second place ( only just beating UKZN with a slightly better final mark rounding!), and UKZN and Rhodes tied for third.
Despite having to navigate sandbanks, much confusion about the legalities of touching the side stays, and a lot of indecision on how exactly one rigs the jib sheets for an L26 J3, this year’s Intervarsity was a big success, bearing witness to growing levels of competitiveness in university match racing. Much was learnt, both in sailing and racing aspects, but also in terms of overall organisation for future regattas.
We’re all frothing for next year and keen to see more growth of university keelboat sailing!