On the weekend of the 13th and 14th February two Edinburgh Sailing teams took on the arduous 7 hour drive to Nottingham to take part in the Nottingham Snakebite open event. Arriving in the small hours of Saturday morning, there was little time to sleep before the dreaded ringing of the alarm sounded far too early as usual.
Conditions on the first day of racing were ideal, with 15kt winds allowing for plenty of exciting and explosive racing. The format of the event was to be a round robin followed by a round of Gold, Silver and Bronze leagues, before ending with two semi-finals, a final and a petit final. The competition from the English universities proved fierce, and very few races were won by simply sailing faster than the opponent. Edinburgh Blue put on a strong showing, winning every race confidently with 1st and 2nd place in each. The Green team struggled at first, however later managed to get onto a winning streak. At the end of the first day Edinburgh blue sat at the top of the table, tied with Cambridge Grey on 100% wins but with lower average points at 6.9 per race. Edinburgh Green placed lower down the table after the slow start, but were confident heading into Sunday’s racing.
Sunday brought a rarity for sailing events this year: Sailable conditions for a second day in a row. We should definitely consider going to English events more often… With the sun shining and wind slightly stronger than the Saturday it was looking to be a good day. However, due to unfortunate dental emergencies and having to rush off early at the end of sailing on Saturday, we missed the news that enough of the round robin had been completed to move straight into leagues on the Sunday. Without this information, the Blue team thought they had a fairly long amount of time before their first race of the day, whilst the Green team were supposedly on first. The Green team were hurried out of the minibus to get changed, leaving the Blue team some time to bask in the sun. However, due to the change in the race schedule, Edinburgh Blue were in the first race against Cambridge. Unfortunately we found this out a bit too late and didn’t make it into the boats, giving them a comfortable 1, 2, 3 victory. I hear they managed to give themselves spins, which leads me to wonder what would have happened had we raced them instead of napping in the minibus. Despite this initial setback, the Blue team won the rest of their races in Gold league, and Edinburgh Green continued their winning streak from the end of Saturday, not dropping a race on Sunday and placing top of the Bronze league.
With the leagues completed, Edinburgh Blue faced off against NOGS in the semi-final, the first to two wins going through to the final. NOGS took the first race after an impressive first beat, establishing a lead which they held until the end. However, Edinburgh managed to take the second race, bringing finals hopes to the third and final race. With everything to play for, NOGS put on a strong show and managed to take the win, knocking Edinburgh Blue into the Petit final against West Kirby Youth, also decided by the first to two wins. The youth squad sailed incredibly quickly and took the first race, with one Edinburgh boat granted spins on the finish line. The second race came right down to the wire on a photo finish, with a last minute port/starboard ruling in Edinburgh’s favour giving them the win. Once again the final race would decide it all, however this time Edinburgh’s superior team racing came into fruition, netting the Blue team third place overall.
Overall the event was a highly enjoyable success, run efficiently by Nottingham University Sailing Club with the help of Nottingham County Sailing Club, who provided hot food on both days for all participants.