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Results 2007

CIT Win Student Match Racing Trophy

Article by Patrick Defense

CIT Sailing Club invited the top 5 colleges on the Irish intervarsity sailing circuit to battle it out for the 1st CIT Match Racing Invitational Trophy. The colleges represented were UL, UCC, Trinity, UCD and CIT.

The event which was held at the Fastnet Sailing Centre in Schull on the 9th February was juried and overseen by International Sailing Federation (ISAF) judge Mike O’Connor of the Nations Cup.

As the date approached and the teams were announced it was obvious this event was being taken seriously. Skill and experience would bring together some of the top sailors in the country at the moment. Trinity’s team were the winners of the Student Yachting Worlds 2006, while UCC brought in George Kingston who represented Ireland at the ISAF Nation’s Cup and CIT’s Nicholas O’Leary was 2nd place in the ‘1720’s’ Europeans. Given the heavy weather forecast for the weekend the weight of the crew would be a major deciding factor in selecting the teams.

On the day of the event the tension was high as, contrary to the forecast, the event kicked off in light airs. Finally as the day progressed the wind picked up as Met-Office had promised and sailing finished up in near-gale conditions.

In the round robin stage each team got 4 races. At the top of the table CIT had 3 wins and one match left, UCC had 2 wins 1 loss and one match left to go. The final match of the round robin between CIT and UCC would decide who would be in the finals.

The 1st gun gives warning of 7 minutes to the start of the match. At the 4 minute gun the two boats enter the starting area and the dog fight begins. For this race UCC enters on starboard, CIT enters on port and must give way.

The yachts charge at each other and at the last minute dial-up into the wind and stop. At the 2 minute gun CIT has the advantage and has managed to drive UCC away from the start line. Then CIT turns back for the staring gun but UCC manages to catch up on leeward. The starting gun goes and by hardening up into the wind UCC force CIT onto the committee boat and into a stall. The boats make light contact. The Flag goes up. It’s a penalty against CIT, who immediately bear away and complete the required 360° turn.

The stall and the penalty has cost the CIT boat too much time and they don’t catch up before the race is over a mere 8 minutes after the start. Nicholas maintains an eerie calm and just says ‘80% of the race is won on the pre-start…’

The Final

With 3 round robin wins each UCC and CIT prepares themselves for the final which is to be decided by a best of three races.

This time CIT start on starboard and have the right of way. Again the boats charge at each other. The boats dial-up into the wind to hold position until the UCC boat bears away and jibes. CIT matches the manoeuvre and also jibes and straight away the UCC boat tacks. The boats circle each other no less than fifteen times, like sharks in frenzy on the scent of blood, testing the crew’s endurance and concentration.

UCC manage to break away and get a clear start ahead of CIT. However CIT decide to sail the starboard side of the course in the hope of finding either better wind or better lift. The tactic pays off and CIT manage to arrive at the top mark on starboard, with the right of way, and inside the two boat lengths zone of the mark which forces UCC to keep clear and sail around them.

On the downwind leg UCC tries to establish the over lap onto an imaginary line across the stern of each boat, which will give them the right of way. Good crew work and a well timed jibe means CIT manages to stay ahead to round the bottom mark. Then one last beat to the top mark before returning to the finish line. The boats remain neck and neck until the finish when CIT cross the finish only half a boat length ahead. CIT 1-0

To level the playing field the two teams swap boats. By now everyone was watching from the shore as the event was being decided there on the spot.

Now UCC are on starboard when the boats enter the starting area. CIT tacks then bears away to sail away from the starting area. With UCC close on their heels CIT then manages to break the chase when they put a nearby anchored trawler between themselves and the UCC boat.

Only a few seconds remain before the starting gun for the second race of the final. The boats are charging each other CIT on port, UCC on starboard. CIT tacks onto starboard and completes the manoeuvre. UCC then fails to keep clear. The boats slide off each other. The flag goes up. Penalty goes to UCC.

The Penalty is completed and some good manoeuvring sees the UCC boat catching up until they try to overtake on the downwind run. But a gust accelerates the UCC boat into the back of CIT. The boats make contact CIT raises the protest flag. Another penalty is given to UCC. The race was over, CIT finished ahead. CIT 2-0

The teams in the final were:
  • George Kingston
  • Alex Barry
  • Fred Cudmore
  • Shane Kennedy
  • Patrick Good

  • Nicholas O’Leary
  • Revelin Minihane
  • Patrick Defense
  • Brian Cotter
  • Adam Paul

This event could not have happened with out the help and support of Dave Harte and the Fastnet Sailing Centre, for the use of their well matched 1720’s with a brand new set of sails, International Sailing Federation (ISAF) judge Mike O’Connor and Adam McCarthy of Irish Universities Sailing Association.