The Ceilidh Cup is an annual Keelboat Match Racing event hosted by the Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club in Rhu, Helensburgh. It also incorporates the Scottish Student Sailing Match Racing Championships, and therefore sees a large number of Universities competing alongside non student teams. The very first British student sailing event of the year, it was over subscribed as teams were eager to put their new teams to the test.
The weekend saw light wind on both days, making for tense racing. Edinburgh started the round-robin with an unfortunate loss against reigning champions RNCYC due to an equipment failure. Made only more determined by this we then went on to win against Strathclyde Blue, forcing them to take a penalty just before the finish line allowing us to sail past. Further, a convincing win against Strathclyde Red set us up well going into the fourth race and we led St Andrews round the course until the last leg, where they managed to ride a gust down the course and pip us to the line. Downhearted by this, our spirits were low as the wind dropped off and racing was cancelled for the day.
Sunday saw us focused as we took three straight wins against Aberdeen, Glasgow and St Mary’s Loch Sailing Club (a mixed team, including past and present Edinburgh students). This left us having won six out of eight races and a 75% win rate in our round-robin, but several teams were still to race each other so we were unsure of our position overall. As soon as we had finished our races the wind again died and the fleet was left drifting. We sat and watched as the sailors taking part in SSS Fleet Racing kept sailing in a small patch of wind near them.
After an hour of waiting, the race committee attempted to try and complete the round-robin, but again the wind didn’t play ball. More waiting ensued but we were told we could now head in, as now only a few university teams were staying out to attempt to race each other, in order to ensure the SSS prize could be awarded. Tensions were again high as we waited to hear if any team would match our results.
The prize giving started and with it came surprise as we found there was a three way tie for 1st place between Edinburgh, Strathclyde Blue and St Andrews. Due to the lack of a final series because of the wind and the method by which the SSS title is awarded, it happened that all three teams ended up with five wins in the six student-student races. This was rather unexpected but nonetheless we were delighted to take the title of SSS Match Racing Champions for Edinburgh University. We also left the event in second place over all with six wins in eight races, two wins behind RNCYC and one point ahead of Strathclyde Blue, which is always satisfying. Our thanks go out to the RNCYC and the race management who ran a great event!